Have you ever been in a situation when you look at other couples, kiss and say ‘We will never be like that’, then few years later you do the exact same thing? Our situation happened when I went to Hong Kong for the very first time. We entered McDonald’s and saw those couples, who don’t talk to each other, just keep playing with their phones. Little I knew, Hong Kong had and still has great Internet access, lots of free wifi spots etc.
I grabbed Sing’s arms and I told him ‘Look at the phone zombies, that’s sad’. Guess who’s sad now. Ironic, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the times we live in – we can travel really fast, we can communicate with a person thousands kilometers away, even our marriage won’t be seen as misalliance. But everything has a good and a bad side. With all the technology around us we slowly grow apart from each other.
Think about it – how many times you seen people on their phones, looking down, not at each other. When we go to dim sum, Sing keeps saying ‘It’s much more quiet than when I was a kid, we didn’t have iPads so we just kept running and yelling around the tables’. But we usually don’t even think about it, it became just a part of our lives.
But what it has to do with our trip? Well, we had some communication problems with Orange (French telecommunication company) and the guy told us the only card we can get is 40 euro card with 1GB. I would build up my own company and give myself the Internet hotspot before I pay that much for a card I would use for 3.5 days. So since we were too cheap we ended up with no Internet, couldn’t even connect to public WIFIs.
I have to say that not having phone Internet was one of the best things that happened to us during the trip. For various reasons:
- We could rest more. I’m not a popular blogger, but I think I’m pretty addicted to see the stats of the day, check the Facebook page, update Instagram – just a basic ‘blogger update’. I had pressure to check how’s the new post or is there any comment that would make me upset etc., but this time I just scheduled posts in the hotel and let it be. When I was back, I was replying comments and my blogging world didn’t fall apart, like I thought it would.
Same for Sing – he’s a workaholic, he even got a phonecall during our trip because apparently Out Of Office memo is just a concept that no one uses. But with very limited Internet he just check his mailbox, maybe reply one or two urgent e-mails and that’s it. I had Sing all for myself. Even if he wanted to check something, he had no chance.
- We became a better team. I admit, I’m a terrible travel companion, but it has always been like that and Sing knows I trust him when we travel. But with no apps, sucking GPS and language barrier we had to team up. We used a time vehicle and went back to using paper maps and guide books. We worked together as a team, we looked up the names of the streets. subway exits, places to eat. At the beginning it was difficult to go back to using traditional maps, but it was a really good experience in case of emergency.
- We were more aware of surrounding. Everyone warned us about pickpocketing, especially in crowded tourist areas you could see signs all over the place. Since we could focus on each other and the attraction we were more aware what’s going on, we could see if someone is trying to get too close to us. I saw girls so busy with posting a Eiffle Tower selfie that they just left their purses wide open. It was like screaming ‘Take my money, I don’t care’.
- We became closer, physically. I know it sounds nasty, but it’s not what you think – because we didn’t have phone cards there was no way we could call each other so we had to stay close together.
- We became closer, mentally. We came back to the honeymoon period. I honestly don’t remember when was the last time we talked so much. And even when we didn’t talk, we just look at each other. We smiled a lot more, we just took stupid pictures together. Even Sing decided to ‘sing’ me a serenade (if you still haven’t seen it click here for the video).
At the airplane I told Sing that even if the card is cheap, next time just don’t bother to buy it. I don’t know where or when we will go next time, but I love the no-Internet experience. Since we came back we put a rule ‘no phones on the table’. I love the opportunities of the world wide web, but I don’t want us to be those phone-zombies again. When I think how much time we wasted staring on the screen instead of each other, it makes me sad. We already had that, we have already been in a long distance relationship, why would we went to go back to the ‘virtual being together’ when we are just meter away?
Have you ever tried traveling without Internet? Do you think it’s better to have the Internet connection rather than not have it? How to balance real and virtual life? Share your experience and wisdom! And of course enjoy your holidays! 🙂