When you travel, you want to keep in touch with your dear friends and family you left at home and internet is no doubt the easiest way to contact all these people. But did you ever thought that while you are skyping 2 hours with your mom you might be missing out your travel?
I try to find a balance between visiting the new country, meet new people, connect with locals, take pictures and internet. After years of traveling I figured out there's one way to do this: once a week staying at the hostel/home and catch up with internet. This way I also rest from all overwhelming walks and visits here and there, take time to myself and do tasks like laundry or reading a book. You might be thinking "What if I travel one or two weeks?" Then yep, take half an hour to be online per day but leave the great and long stories whenever you get home. I usually travel slow so I can have a day off traveling :)
Is not a secret anymore that I love lists. This time I was brainstorming what the heck I could blog about and all the sudden I started writting reasons to avoid internet whilst traveling:
1. I want to live the moment. If you decided to go on a trip isn't it important to enjoy it as much as possible? If you find out wifi in that restaurant you probably won't be aware how delicious is the food, instead you want to scroll down in instagram or facebook and eat quick because you gotta go visit that museum. Or you are surrounded by other travellers in the hostel living room, maybe you are losing an opportunity to listen their tips for your next destination because you are so focus on checking your email... again.
2. It's disrespectful with others. If something I don't understand is when we are eating together in the table, people around me on the phone all the time. And you try to talk with them and don't give a s***. Not cool.
3. Searching online, instead of going to the place. I know it's so much easier to search on internet whatever we need but what about going to ask the lady in the train station what train schedules? That's a great moment to interact with locals. Who knows if the train station is magically beautiful inside? Maybe you will accidently meet that cool traveller you met last week?
4. Internet will show you touristic places mostly. Websites like Tripadvisor can be useful when you are looking for a place to visit or a nice restaurant but is also blocking you to go by yourself and discover. The best places to eat I discovered by walking thru, enjoyed the environment, the menu was catchy and staff looked friendly so I asked for a table. Better see with your own eyes and choose than reading strangers reviews on internet. In the other side, I agree that internet is a great tool to find out what to do in certain city/town/country but mostly of recommendations lead you to the most famous touristic places, what about that smaller temple so pretty two blocks from your hotel? You will never find it because you are focusing on your to do list from internet. A mix of both exploring & tourism is a good idea.
5. Internet addiction. I can spend all day online, really. If I'm traveling and have wifi I want to check my emails, take a look at instagram feed, see if I have any private messages on facebook. Knowing that I can't control myself I either leave my tablet or phone in my hotel room or simpley don't check wifi availability because I know that if I go online "just to say hi to my friends" I will spend almost two hours there. In the meanwhile is dark outside already.
6. "Gotta leave because I have a skype conversation scheduled with my friend". This really sucks! Imagine you are having fun dancing with locals and learn new moves, you are having the best time of your life. You look at the clock and be worried because in half an hour you gotta skype. This can break a precious moment that will never come back.
7. Travel is a good excuse to be offline for a while. It's great to turn off the button sometimes. We spend way toooo many hours in our computers and phones, getting more magnetism in our bodies that sometimes is a NEED to disconnect from the world wide web. One week without social media and phones is not a big deal and believe me, after this you will feel so much better. Give a try!
Your turn! When you travel are you online often? Do you agree is a good time to disconnect from the WWW?