Woah – I already wrote this blog months ago but never got around to publishing it, it has been in our drafts ever since we came back from Patagonia. After coming home from South America, it was the first post that I wrote in at least a month time. Before our trip, we were well prepared and had pre-written all our posts for 4 weeks, except from the weekly plogs.
As it’s Social Sunday, I’d like to talk about travel without social media, once again. That’s why the name of this post is travel without social media – part two. There is already a part one, go here to read it. If I may dare saying so, it’s one of the posts I liked most of last year, because it was (for me) quite a personal one and I think that many people could identify with this. The basic idea of this post was, that when you travel, it’s important to put the phone away every now and then. Because I’ve noticed again on this trip to Patagonia, and all the others we took afterwards, either business or pleasure, we are all obsessed with our phones. And social media.
Before I continue, I will make a confession. I love my iPhone. If I would lose it, I’d be incredibly sad. I don’t do proper backups (I know I should) or save photos to my laptop. So in fact if I’d lose my phone, I’d be lost. When there is wifi available, I log on and check it. Of course there’s never something really happening that can’t wait another day, but still, you know how that goes, right?
For one crazy second I had the idea to completely switch off my phone for the duration of our Patagonia trip but eventually decided not to. Why? Because 3 weeks is too long. And I would still need to check emails and the internet for bookings, arrangements with local operators etc. So switching off my phone entirely for 3 weeks was not an option for me. However within our itinerary there would be a couple of days without connection. A couple of days at the end of the world (literally) that would leave us in peace and silence. Completely without social media.
The days of social silence were during our cruise with Stella Australis through Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. 5 Days on a ship without any form of reception. Sounds good, right? So in the morning of our departure. we left our hostel, went for a city walk and went shopping. We took a walk to a viewpoint in the city of Punta Arenas and from there, I switched off my phone. Upon check in on board, I put my iPhone in a drawer of our cabin, only to come out again when disembarking in Ushuaia.
So, what happens when everyone has switched off their phones? They communicate! With each other, that is. Not only during dinner but during every second of the boat trip. On the zodiacs, during briefings and while on land. While playing bingo, having a drink or while hiking. All of a sudden, everyone became a real human again and paid attention to each other instead of to their phones. What a different world! We had the greatest conversations, made friends and had tons of Pisco Sours. Martijn participated in an on-board fashion show and we even played Bingo (yes, really!).
While on shore we listened to ice calving off glaciers and icebergs sounding like icecubes in a glass of water. We drank hot chocolate to warm up and gazed at condors floating in the sky. We enjoyed the curious looking penguins being funny right in front of us and stepped onto historical ground where Charles Darwin was before. All of this without sharing it. And without the urge to immediately share it. It was just us, the rest of the passengers and the beautiful nature at the end of the world.
Almost 3 days went by without my phone being taken from the nightstand drawer. On the third night while we were having dinner, the captain announced that we were sailing into the Ushuaia bay, meaning that there was a possibility of having cell phone reception for a moment. What happened then was just crazy. People left dinner to pick up their phones. Or those who had it with them went from a normal person back to the phone zombie, frantically typing and sending selfies into the interwebs. I’ll admit it, for one (another) crazy second I had a doubt. Would I run to the cabin and pick up my phone to share our adventures? Or would I leave it and see what the news was on the morning of day five, less than 36 hours away? I then quickly realized I actually liked the way things were. And that life (and the blog) would continue even without me being online. So I let it be and did not use my phone until stepping off the ship 36 hours later.
Upon disembarking I switched it on and upon arrival in the hotel, the messages came in. There I was, spending an hour and a half browsing through everything again. Busy with messages, whatsapp, selfies and that sort of things. I turned back into the mobile phone zombie…
It’s 4 months since we’ve been home now and our first real vacation together after Patagonia and Norway (where we used our phones as little as possible) is coming up. I feel hesitant. Shall I switch off my phone entirely again for a week? Can I do that? Sure I can, but do I really want it? Now that our blog receives more attention than ever? Can I afford not to reply to my emails for a week? I know the answer and don’t want to think about it. If I will in fact switch off my phone, you will notice. Or not…
Please note: I did not mean to offend anyone with this post. I know that for many bloggers being online is essential so please take my writings with a pinch of salt, as we like to say in The Netherlands (as in: don’t take it too seriously). The point I’m trying to make here is that, no matter if you travel for business or pleasure, you should never forget to leave the phone (or the internet) for a while and actually enjoy what you are doing. And maybe not sharing that very special moment at the very minute you are enjoying it. Sharing can always be done later. Experiencing special moments cannot …
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