With all the gadgets today it is easier than ever to stay connected no matter where you are. Chances are you stop at any town of any size and you can find a hot spot or internet connection. Cell phones work anywhere in the world unless you are in the middle of the Sahara and they might work there. With all the travel apps, plugins and so forth you can find the nearest toilet, cheapest hotel, closest bus stop and what time the bar opens around the corner. IPads, IPhones, Galaxies, Tablets, Netbooks, Sat phones, Skype, Web conference, the list goes on and on.
I was recently at a small hotel on a beautiful beach. I could wake up up in the morning, walk outside and be within 100 meters of the surf. I remember waking up early one day so I could get a cup of coffee and just relax and watch the sun come up while the beach was nice and quiet before everyone started milling around. As I stepped outside I heard my neighbor next to me talking. I wasn’t eaves dropping but he was outside on his patio on his computer speaking to a group of people on a web conference about work. All I could think of was, poor guy. Here we are in a beautiful place and he is working. I am not talking about the guys you see that run a business on a beach somewhere and have no office. This guy was obviously working in his job wherever it was and couldn’t manage to detach.
I began to notice more and more that people on holiday were attached to their gadgets. While I use a computer to keep up on blog stuff while traveling I try to limit the use. I might spend an hour or so in the evenings getting caught up but I purposely don’t use gadgets during the day. I want to experience travel for what it is, an experience.
Part of the fun is not knowing and not planning every move I make. Too many people look at the places they travel to but they don’t see them. They don’t take time to put down the smart phone, ditch the apps and just experience travel. I have been guilty of it in the past. I used to do the same thing until I realized that by slowing down a little and just exploring an area I could find some amazing things and meet some amazing people.
I have found great places to stay by accident as I was walking past them and just checked them out. I have found great places to eat by asking local workers where a good place was. I found a local pub in Prague run by a woman that said she was a witch and had all kinds of little witch figures hanging up in her bar. It was a little strange but different and I would have never found it following a travel app of best places to eat and drink. Years ago I spent the day in a part of London I couldn’t find again if my life depended on it going from pub to pub. I found a couple of great local pubs and had a blast talking the people that lived there.
The point is, you don’t have to stay wired to the world when you travel. Ditch the gadgets and see what the world has to offer around you.
Steve Whitty says
I’ve noticed there has been a reduction of human interaction as we get stuck into Facebook. I am guilty of this. An early new year’s resolution is to limit myself to the digital life for no more than two hours a day while travelling. Stick to the more important things in life like talking, eating and drinking.
And for me a fine cigar fits in the schedule also 🙂
D.J. - The World of Deej says
It is getting harder and harder for me to do this, but I do make an effort. On our weekend getaways I’ve been leaving the laptop behind. The phone is a different story though…
I keep my phone on me also, when I am traveling though my phone is just that, a phone. Nothing fancy no gadgets, it’s just a plain old phone.
Mark Somerfield says
You’re right, disconnecting is great, but there is a flip side to that. For some of us, the gadgets are what permit us to travel. I could not be backpacking in Mexico right now without either quitting my job or pushing for a sabbatical – and in both cases the money would eventually run out and I would have to go crawling back to my 9-5, tail between my legs, dreaming of blue skies, towering mountains and sunny beaches far away.
But with the internet it’s possible never to go home – just work in whatever convenient hotel room you find and then enjoy the pleasures of the your surroundings in your time off. In the last two days I have spent around 10 hours on my laptop, either in my hotel or in one of the numerous coffee shops in San Cristobal, and a further 10 hours hauling my gut up dirt tracks on a mountain bike through amazing cloud forests. I’d love to be able to ditch the gadgets but my lifestyle wouldn’t be feasible without them.
I agree you have to have the phone, computer, etc. I carry them while traveling also but I limit the use. I don’t carry them with me everywhere I go. I use them in the evening and I don’t rely on them to make make my plans everyday. It is the every day traveler I see getting so engrossed in their gadgets they don’t actually seem to be enjoying and taking advantage of their surroundings. For the road warrior nomad it is a different case.
It’s great to leave them behind if and when you can. Or bring them and limit their use.
Stop and smell the roses, right? 🙂
Agree. I try not to get too trapped using all the gadgets and even just stuff, like twitter, facebook and all the others. It just takes up so much time I would rather be using for something else.
Gadgets, social media and the like may be used, but I agree Bob. You can’t really enjoy the reality of a sunset, mountain view or people if you’re stuck into them. Yeah I have my netbook and camera, but more often than not they take up very little of my time. About the only Social Media I’m even thinking of is Twitter, the rest – forget it.