Courtesy of: @kimberlysvoice
As two people who use their phones constantly, it was a big decision for me not to bring my iPhone with me on our honeymoon. Why the hesitation? Was it because I needed it, because I wanted it, or did I just not know how to leave home without it?
What if I didn’t bring it, then what? Would I still be able to stay in touch, get around a big new city, and survive without checking Facebook every few minutes?
Maybe I was secretly waiting for this opportunity – one where no one would question my digital absence (since, after all, I was going on my honeymoon). I shut my phone off, left it on my bedside table and left for the airport with a smile on my face.
I felt free.
Not only that, but I realized how many other people weren’t free – but literally attached to their digital devices. Through the airport, on the plane, waiting at trolley stops, eating at restaurants. At one point, I watched two people on one of our wine tours – a couple – where the girl texted and talked on the phone throughout the entire thing! I get that you’re excited to share your experiences with other people, but what about the person you’re with? What about missing out on the actual experience because you are too distracted!?
Maybe I’m being naïve because I have a wonderful new husband, but I loved spending every moment together – and not having to worry about taking that next great shot for Facebook or Tweeting something super clever for others to read. I would, at least, wait to do that until I got home!
Now I’m not saying this little break from the digital world made me want to give it up by any means, but what I am saying is that it was nice to do just that – take a break. Smell the roses (or, in my case, the sea water and the grape vines).
I actually enjoyed doing things in a more traditional way – instead of pulling up Google Maps, I used a real map. Instead of looking at my weather app, I walked outside. Instead of spending time on Facebook, I picked up a paperback.
The best part? Not only did we talk to each other the entire trip, but we talked to other people.
People who were incredibly friendly and helpful. Instead of using our phones to figure out where to eat or what to do, we asked locals.
We met a couple who got engaged that night! We met a cab driver who was from Jordan, and who was proud of his three kids in College. We met a lady in the airport who helped direct us, with a smile.
Often, I wonder if people are using their digital devices not to keep in touch with others, but to shy away from social interaction. They allow us to tune out and give us an excuse to be unapproachable and unfriendly with strangers.
The same rules apply online as they do in the real world: don’t ignore people. Interact with them, and engage them in conversation. Chances are you’ll learn something new.
And isn’t that what it’s all about? Evolution and learning - both through face to face dialogue and digital ones.
So keep your technology with you as you travel, as you go through your daily routine.
Just make sure it is enhancing your social interactions and not hindering them.