Birdwatching
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In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 4:52 pm

Here's a fun little thought experiment.

Picture yourself in our world, but human development has never taken place. Everything is like it would be without humans. Not in a pre-human era with different climatic conditions and different shapes of continents, but today, the year 2018 (except nobody would be counting to 2018), no towns, roads, agriculture, no deforestation, fortified coasts or altered river beds.

Now you're placed in a random location within your home continent.

Would you be able to find your way to the exact spot where your house is (except there is no house)? You have an infinite amount of time, and you are are immune to the following: hunger, thirst, tiredness, wild animals and temperature.

Myself, living near Stuttgart, I'd have to estimate my general location on the European continent and then I'd have to decide which way to walk to catch a coast line. Walking along the coast for a long time might give me an idea which coast I'm at, based on the direction (I could figure out north by the course of the sun) and on how the landscape changes. At some point I'd have to walk the coast in a direction that brings me to the mouth of the Rhine river, which of course would look severely different than it does in the real world, but I could probably locate it by finding the North Sea mud flats which are a unique landscape in Europe (but again would look different without the areas of reclaimed land by dikes). Once the Rhine is figured out, I'd have to follow it for a long time until I find the mouth of the Neckar near present-day Mannheim, which I could probably figure out by what the landscape looks like in the direction of Heidelberg. I'm pretty sure I would find my familiar surroundings after following the river long enough.
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WildcatYXU
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 4:59 pm

How would know what landscape to follow without knowing any maps, as these wouldn't exist?
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910A
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 5:07 pm

I would think the first concern would be survival. Food, water, shelter activities that would take most of the daylight hours.
 
Birdwatching
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 5:10 pm

WildcatYXU wrote:
How would know what landscape to follow without knowing any maps, as these wouldn't exist?

From memory. You are still the same you, but placed into that alternative world.

910A wrote:
I would think the first concern would be survival. Food, water, shelter activities that would take most of the daylight hours.

As I wrote above, you don't need to care about those things, just the hiking and navigating. Kind of like creative mode in Minecraft.
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
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dangerhere
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 5:17 pm

WildcatYXU wrote:
How would know what landscape to follow without knowing any maps, as these wouldn't exist?


Depending on the continent, can be easily possible. For a European, for example, if you are put somewhere in Europe, you will be able to have a reasonable climatic knowledge to know what the Med / Scandanavia / the northern European plain (the bit that goes as far as Eurasia). It might well be a different story in South America for example, but even there you will quickly be able to figure out how far the equator is away ect.

To answer the original post, where I'm living (versus where I'm from) it would be fairly impossible. Berlin is built on a marsh with no noticible features bar Wannsee and Müggelsee, with the Spree and Havel too but neither would look anything more than a generic river.

Dublin on the other hand (assuming I could walk/swim across several seas) would be easily to identify from the bay, Wicklow Mountains and Liffey, unmistakable in fact. Getting there might be a different story, but I guess firstly identify from the landscape and sun where I most probably am, then walk westwards til coast, then up or down based on climate, reach britain, travel roughly west north west til i hit another coast, then locate the Snodon mountains, cross to Anglesea and then due west 80 km over the Irish sea to Dublin bay.
 
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ER757
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 5:51 pm

with an infinite amount of time, yes definitely.
If time was a factor though, it would depend on where on my continent I started. I live near the west coast of North America. Following the sun I could go west. While en-route I would be able to note climate conditions and roughly gauge how for north or south I was. Once I got my general location, I could alter my path northward or southward until I got to the region where I now live, in the Pacific Northwest. Then I'd look for the Columbia River - then head north until reaching Puget Sound. I could then go a few miles east to locate the major river that I currently reside next to and follow it to the exact location of my current residence. Voila' I am home :smile:
 
CCGPV
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 6:22 pm

I'd be able to find my home pretty easily. Its located near a natural water source within eye shot of various mountain peaks. I'd walk east or west until I hit the mountain range and then hike north or south to the specific range and then it would be easy.
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Calder
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 6:48 pm

It would be pretty difficult to cross the ocean(s) depending on where I was set down.

I like to think I could find my way "home", but realistically, I probably couldn't.

Edit: didn't thoroughly read the OP. On North America? Possibly. Get the ocean on the correct side, and start walking north!
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Tugger
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 7:47 pm

Birdwatching wrote:
Would you be able to find your way to the exact spot where your house is (except there is no house)? You have an infinite amount of time, and you are are immune to the following: hunger, thirst, tiredness, wild animals and temperature.

Basically yes and no.
Yes because I live in a coastal area with well defined terrain in the area that can lead me to my home. But no because my house is in a development that did move earth around to create the flat sport my house is on so that would not exist for me to "find exactly".

It would definitely be a chore but with infinity to do it in, I could.

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B777LRF
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 8:17 pm

Nope. My home would be under 2 meters of water, at present mean sea level.
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Dutchy
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 9:12 pm

Interesting question, I get your drift. For me, I live in Utrecht, which means there is no way to find the exact spot. The Netherlands would look totally different without human influence. Utrecht would be near the sea I guess, although there would be some island within the delta system.

You know the old saying: God made the earth, but the Dutch shaped Holland.
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Freakysh
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 9:23 pm

Could maybe get to a 3km radius of my current location. Maybe.
 
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Aesma
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Thu May 10, 2018 10:18 pm

I live near Paris, a town that has existed for more than two millenia, and humans have lived there for probably 10000 years, so knowing what it would look like without man is difficult.

I live in a river valley, a river whose course was heavily modified by a certain Louis XIV to provide water for his palace's fountains, basically all the numerous lakes I'm used to are man made. My house is fairly new, dating back from the 80's, I've a picture from when the street had just been built in the middle of flat agricultural land, now it's houses and buildings for a couple Km in all directions. Without man there would be forest everywhere, there is no mountain or even hill around, so I don't think I could get anywhere near my house.

My parents have a house near a coast, that would be much easier I think, but who knows, maybe what man has done with agriculture etc. has had an impact on the coast as well.
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fr8mech
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Fri May 11, 2018 12:18 am

Yup, wouldn't need an infinite amount of time, just the time required to hike to a recognizable geographic feature and then home. Really doesn't matter where on the continent I was dropped.
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c933103
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Fri May 11, 2018 2:15 am

It really depends on where in Asia I was dropped to. It would be pretty hard to walk from Insular part of Asia or Middle East to East Asia without first having an idea of where I am. And I don't think I would be skillful enough to determine that in such situation
 
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casinterest
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Fri May 11, 2018 2:16 am

Knowing the general topography of where I live, I could get close, but it would be painful. The resevoir would be gone, but the river that feeds it would still be there. If I could find a few rock formations I know, I could probably get within a few hundred yards of the location.
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VSMUT
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 8:15 am

Yes, and it would be painfully easy because I live on an island in an archipelago. Not taking potential old-growth forests into account, I estimate that it would take about 2-3 months. Google suggests 1 month from the furthest point in Europe by foot, and then I added a bit in case I spawn somewhere near the Urals or Caucasus and need to find my bearings first. Somewhere in Norway or the UK/Ireland would be the hardest, with lots of open water to cross.
 
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BartSimpson
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 9:46 am

Not at all. I live in a flat, albeit very nice, area with almost no natural distinctive features. With some luck and time I could get appr. 20 km close to home.
 
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787Driver
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 11:52 am

I could find my home within 50 meters I think. I live near a lake, and also a coastline which would still be there without human influence.
 
seb146
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 9:51 pm

I can not swim and live on a peninsula, so I would need a lot of time but I could probably come close. I am not sure about some of my former houses. That would be interesting.
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ACDC8
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 10:52 pm

All really depends on exactly where I'd be placed, but it would be do able as long as geographical (mountains, rivers, coast lines) are where they are.

I would just have to keep following the sun to the west until I hit the Pacific, go north (or south) until I hit the Fraser River, follow that until the point where the Thompson river flows in, follow that until a very distinguishable mountain, head south east from there along the lakes and recognizable geography until I hit Swan Lake, follow the creek that flows out of the south end for about an hour and voila.
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Alias1024
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 10:57 pm

I could certainly get within a couple miles. The geography of the city is quite distinctive, sitting in a rift valley with very unusual looking mountains to the East, dormant volcanoes to the west, and a river running north to south.

The problem is that the part of the city I live in is an alluvial plane from the base of the mountains down to the river. Without man made objects it would just be a gently sloping plane full of sagebrush, with some dry creek beds here and there.
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petertenthije
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Mon May 14, 2018 10:59 pm

I am from the Netherlands. There is not a single grain of sand or body of water here that has not been handled by human hands. You could drop me within inches from where I live or where I grew up, and would probably not recognise either place. And that’s assuming the place is not flooded to begin with.
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SL1200MK2
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Wed May 16, 2018 1:28 pm

I live in San Francisco so I like to think the peninsula would be a fairly easy geographical feature to notice. And since nice I’ve been in California for most of my life, I think it would be possible once I made it to the west coast.
 
StarAC17
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Wed May 16, 2018 2:12 pm

Really Hard to say but I think I could be fairly accurate.

I live in the Greater Toronto Area and if I could find Niagara falls I could walk along Lake Ontario and probably could identify the shoreline of the lake and also follow the Niagara escarpment to where Burlington, Ontario is. Then I would be able to know where the rivers would be and eyeball it. Problem in finding home is that all of Southern Ontario was forest before humans arrived here IIRC.
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9MMPQ
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Re: In an uninhabited world, would you find home?

Wed May 16, 2018 5:48 pm

Impossible. I'm in Holland & without human interference my place would still be several metres below sea level in a rather large patch of open sea :rotfl:
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