Sunday social travel talk,  We12inspire

Travel without social media – part 2

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.

Without social media? Sure! Without a drink? Hell no!

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!).

fashion show
Martijn as a model (entirely left)
No phone? Let’s play Bingo!
Relaxing? Sure! With another drink please…
Honestly: only for saving pictures and videos!

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.

Let me take a selfie!
Dude, are you looking at me?
Look into the cameras boys and girls!
No second without our camera!

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.

Did you see that? She’s checking her phone!

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…

Here’s to no phones! Cheers!

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 …

Curious for more? Click Sunday Social Travel Talk and scroll down to read more social stories from us around the world!

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  • Sandra

    Ik herken het enorm wat je zegt. Life is better without social media. Of nee, without mobile cell phones. Ik merk dat ik het heerlijk vind om (gedwongen) geen verbinding te hebben haha. Telefoon weg en contact maken. Echt contact maken. Ik doe het in Nederland ook wel eens voor een paar uur. Maar hele dagen? Kun je niet je telefoon de hele dag uitzetten en jezelf een uur per dag gunnen om mail te beantwoorden? Vast tijdstip, een week lang? Kun je zakelijk wel bezig zijn, maar wel de rust van even helemaal niets?

  • Linda

    Herkenbaar! Op Cuba had ik geen internet bij alle casa’s waar we sliepen. Heerlijk vond ik het! Toen er een internet moment kwam, twijfelde ik maar legde toch mn foon weer weg. Moet wel bekennen dat ik toen mijn blog nog niet online was. Het is in ieder geval niet zo dat geen WiFi mij doet besluiten niet te boeken. 🙂 Maar leuk is het zeker. Toffe pinguin foto’s, daar kan je toch uren naar kijken?!

    • anto

      Zonder blog is het inderdaad wat makkelijker om de telefoon af en toe weg te leggen. Maar aan de andere kant, ik kan me niet voorstellen dat er mensen zijn die niet begrijpen dat je soms even een weekje vrij neemt, zelfs als travelblogger 😉

  • Hannah

    Good for you! It’s hard to be offline for awhile- especially when you are somewhere new and exciting and want to share those new and completely awesome ‘selfies’ that will make everyone else jealous. It’s nice to not have to worry about that stuff for awhile and actually enjoy your time while it’s happening.

    • anto

      Yes I know it’s always such fun to share selfies and pictures from the most amazing places. But I can’t wait to leave it all behind again for a couple of days to travel like we did in the old days…

  • Meg @ Mapping Megan

    Super impressed. I find it incredibly difficult, and actually get anxiety when I’m disconnected from social media. I can relax when I know I can get my notifications when I want them lol! Though it is nice when we do get to a place with no reception and we’re forced to switch off. Trying to achieve a balance is the hard part 😀

    Huge kudos!

    • anto

      Thanks for the kudos Meg 🙂 I am sure I’d be hooked too however M. just isn’t very happy when I’m busier with my phone than with us on vacation so that keeps me from being online all the time. I guess it’s also easier because we go camping frequently, because while in places with a normal bed my first question at reception usually is “what’s the wifi code” lol …

  • Linda

    Hi Anto, er schiet mij nog wat te binnen wat ik mooi vond passen bij deze post. In Jamaica zei een ontbijtdame mij dit: make sure not only your body is here, your mind should be here as well. Ik denk dat dit wel meer lukt zonder bereik, je bent dan toch meer ‘aanwezig’ in het nu. En thuis is even daar waar het hoort: thuis. Fijne dagen!

  • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer

    I love this post. I keep telling myself that I need to escape from social media. Things can be pre-scheduled. Emails can send auto-responders. I will do it soon! Thanks for the insight and a look at the reality of how social media and instant gratification changes lives 😀

  • Charles McCool

    I can definitely live without social media. Don’t get my wrong, I love it and it is fun. When I am on a trip, though, I like being on the trip. I can share stuff at night before sleep or even when I get home.

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