Sunday, December 16, 2012

To Connect or Disconnect?

In the beginning of 2004 I spent five months studying abroad in Australia. I left my laptop and cellphone at home. I only went online at the library. Facebook? What's that? Twitter? Hey, don't call me that! I only spoke to family or friends when I was in my bedroom and heard the phone ring,which wasn't very often (come on, I was in AUSTRALIA!). At that point in time I was nowhere near as connected as I am now - with my iPhone that's always nearby and accessible internet at all times. After a day or two in Australia I got over the initial weirdness of not having a cellphone on me 24/7 and actually kind of loved not being accessible ALL THE TIME! I was more present with the people I was actually physically around. (You know - you would be at a party or a bar and everyone was talking to each other, not looking at their phones or texting the person across the room). It was a more difficult adjustment to be so connected again when I returned home.

I'm not saying I don't love being connected because I do. I love social media and that I can share pictures or thoughts on Facebook and have feedback seconds later. I love that I can post a question on Twitter and get an answer in less than a minute. I love that if I'm lost I can simply tap my iPhone screen a few times and find out exactly where I am. I love that if I don't know if I can eat a food because it might contain gluten I can Google it and know right away if I am "safe."

I want to keep up my blog while I am gone and connect with other travelers via Twitter. However, I don't want to lose the authenticity of traveling to a new place and getting truly lost. It's in those moments where I feel the most alive and connected to the world around me.

Would we have a richer experience if we left the gadgets behind?

I'm hoping that we will be able to find the right balance, utilizing social media and connectivity periodically in order to update our family and friends on our adventure as they are all requesting, and researching places we are or will be going to be more knowledgeable. However, I don't want to carry our phone with us constantly to Google where we should eat for dinner or stay for a night or to find our way to a local landmark. I want to ask the shop owner or the elderly man who stops to ask us what we are taking a picture of because these are the experiences I remember. These are the memories that make a trip an adventure that will stay with us forever. These are the connections that make me feel alive. And what's better than that?

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
Joe Lewis
Living Life on the Great Ocean Road, Australia

No comments:

Post a Comment