January 23, 2017

Switch off your bloody phones. It’s time for a digital detox.

“OFF. NOW. For fuck’s sake!!”

I don’t know what came over me. Maybe it was the two hours sleep i’d had the night before. Maybe it was the fact that I was leaving China for good and feeling strangely….OK about it, but this woman had irritated me to the max.

No I don’t usually have regular outbursts on a plane. Honest. But when you’re hurtling down the runway during take-off and the girl next to you is trying to make a phone call despite being told countless of times that it’s time to TURN THE BLOODY PHONE OFF, I just had to do it.

And it got me thinking. What’s our obsession with our mobile phones? Do we need to do that one last update? Do we need to check as we’re taxiing, how many people have liked our check-in at Shanghai airport? Have we updated our instagram and at the same time without realising, given away your frequent flier information (you moron)?

Flash back ten or fifteen years and we would be there in the departures lounge and on the plane with a good book or a newspaper with the knowledge that our family would be checking the flight arrival on Ceefax. Yes Ceefax – remember that? No? God i’m old.

There were no mobiles. The flight attendants didn’t have to constantly repeat themselves and feel like absolutely no one is listening as people get their mobiles out from their pockets again and continue to freak out about how many retweets their ‘OMG, I just got a totes bargain at the Benefit counter’ has gotten them.

Over the past couple of months, i’ve been thinking about this more and more. I realise that at some points I am attached to my phone and it isn’t healthy. During recent trips to Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong I made a conscious effort to cut down on my mobile phone and social media use only using Instagram to take photos. And that’s it.

Without sounding old fashioned, I miss the comfort of a good book, a notebook and a pen and the idea of leaving my worries and everything else back in the departures lounge. With social media, we’re constantly connected. We can’t switch off.

And I don’t think i’m the only one. I’ve been reading blog posts recently with people choosing their paperbacks or kindles over their iPhones and its refreshing. After all, holidays aren’t holidays if you bring everything from back home with you.

Here are a few good posts about switching off when you go on holiday.

Paper Planes and Caramel Waffles – It’s Time to do a Digital Detox

Goats on the Road – Our Digital Detox Experience in Upstate New York

The Quirky Traveller – A Digital Detox With the Bears

Huffington Post – Why Southeast Asia is the Perfect Spot to Digital Detox

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