5 lovely things I found without technology

“Is it too late for me to add the international plan to my phone?” asks my partner as we arrive in Mexico for a 5-day escape with friends. “Not sure,” I reply “I am turning off my cellular and just using wifi to communicate with the kids.”   I am seriously excited to unplug for a while. 

My oldest daughter is in college and very busy with her life, so I didn’t plan to hear much from her.  The timing of this vacation was perfect in that my youngest daughter was in Spain with her dual language program for a homestay and school experience in Valencia and then some sightseeing in Madrid.  Before she left, we agreed to stay in touch via LINE which we would only access through wifi. Otherwise, she was to unplug and enjoy the experience as much as possible.  LINE is an app that enables you to communicate from anywhere on the planet via text or phone through wifi without using your cellular plan.  It can be a little tricky to use as you DO NEED WIFI, but when it works, it works well and it is FREE.

Both my daughter and I have our Cannon cameras.  I love my camera and use it as a form of expression and communication.  It’s my vehicle to capture moments, people and freeze time.  In a day, a week, a year or a decade these photos will be delightful memories that will bring back a short flood of emotion, laughter, and forgotten moments for those who were part of that experience.  Photos can also serve as a peek into the future.  Shared photos of past travel with friends or family can spark future travel interest.  My favorite, viewing photos of my parents when I was a small child and seeing little pieces of my adult-self in them.  

I brought my computer and phone on this trip with noble ideas of working a few hours in the morning but found myself leaving both packed away for most of the trip. I would begrudgingly pull them out of their hiding places to check in with my daughter or to edit photos.  As soon as those tasks were completed, I happily stuffed them back into the darkness to be forgotten.

5 lovely things I found without technology

The Present. I find that at home I am fighting to be in the moment.  On vacation with my devices put away, I am very present.  I enjoyed the smells and sounds around me. I was able to relax and look around.  I had more time and energy to communicate with the people around me.  I watched and witness friends cooking, talking and laughing.  I ask questions and learned more about them. 

Go with the flow.  Without the connection of your devices, you are forced to just go with the flow.  There is more freedom and time to explore or watch or listen.  If you are with a group, then they are also forced to be patient and go with the flow. 

Explore. Of course, in some cases maps and good directions are needed, but when you unplug your instinct and sense of direction kick-in.  The navigational skills that we so easily give up with GPS resurface and activate. It’s fun! There is a renewed sense of adventure.

Connectivity.  If your face is stuck behind a screen checking email or surfing Facebook, you do not connect with the faces and personalities in your space.   Eye contact, smiles, laughter and even the occasional eye-roll can communicate more than words and add a deeper sense of connectivity between people.

Day Dreaming. I find that I am more Introspective when unplugged.  I will sometimes journal, but mostly I digest the stream of information, sights, and sounds and then thoughtfully sift through my thoughts and feelings of the moments.  I am witness to my attractions and aversions. I daydream about different travel scenarios and imagine who I would invite, where we would go and what we might do on the adventure. 

I am a few days home from our Mexico trip and already the photos are delightful to look at and relive moments.  I feel like I made a few new friends on this trip and hope to see them and experience their lives in the future.

Technology is a blessing and a curse.  Be thankful to have the option, but make a plan and the effort to unplug and disconnect once in a while.   It is not only good for the soul, but also a good example for your kids.

Enjoy the Climb!