I just recently returned from a trip to the western region of Canada. A trip to visit a childhood friend, with adventures waiting to occur. And as we all know, cellular services and data are entirely too expensive when traveling abroad, so very obviously, I had to rely on WiFi.
If you've ever traveled abroad, you know that free WiFi services can be a pain. You either have to be that person and ask everyone, everywhere you go for the WiFi password or you have to rely on fast-food chains and enter in your, sometimes fake, information. Yet, there is a third option. The option to forgo the constant need to connect. And as you could probably guess, I chose this third option for the most part.
Disconnecting is probably one of the hardest things in this day and age. Everything requires the net; emails, iMessages, social media, free calling apps, etc. We also are in the mindset to always share cool things we see and experience. There are times we even tend to overshare.
While it truly sucked to not be able to share every breathtaking thing I saw, I could not be more grateful for this lack of connection. Not having capabilities to share my views with my friends, family, and random others allowed me to take photos, but for myself. It allowed me to share, but with those I really wanted to.
It allowed me to be utterly present. I wasn't wasting my precious and brief time with the amazing sights of nature editing an Instagram story or snapping it away and responding to peoples' awes.
The realization of not being able to share also allows you to just put your phone down after five or so pictures, something that I think is harder when you can share on a plethora of social media platforms.
The lack of connection to my little social world allowed me to simply take in my surroundings and the company I was with, but even more importantly, it allowed me a break from my everyday life. The lack of WiFi meant I wasn't constantly texting my friends, answering calls, looking at my work group-chat to stay in the loop, or looking at people's tweets and photos. This disconnect was the truest form of taking a break from my daily routine and life.
Going to a new place, surrounded by new activities and people, allows you to be whoever you wish to be. It may allow you to be more confident. It may allow you to be more mellow. It allows you to get away from things you know and just truly be. And as I look back at the photos I have, I also notice the memories I didn't capture or share- and to some degree, there is a tinge of regret.
However, even with this lack of physical proof that all my memories are sound and I did experience that amazing endeavors I partook it, I could not be more grateful for the limited capacities of my phone while abroad.
And I hope as you have a novel, possibly once in a long time/lifetime, experiences, you put your phone down. That you capture memories, but in your heart and mind; through inside jokes and random triggers as you go back to your daily routine. Because the sights I can see in my mind and the warmth I feel in my heart couldn't have been captured as purely in a photo.