Whether you’re an incurable tech head or just a casual phone user, a serial news feed scroller or a die-hard Instagram fiend, be sure to take a moment and peruse these reasons why it’s worth leaving the internet behind for a spell now and again. Hopefully they’ll get you engaged and reconnected to the world around you, conversing with strangers, and enjoying everywhere you visit to the full. It’s okay to disconnect once you’re done reading by the way…
To have better conversation
There are some tried and tested life-improvement experiments that extoll the virtues of putting down the smartphone and simply talking to strangers. Some people aim for a new conversation with someone they don’t know each day of the year, others simply try to strike up a tête-à-tête when the opportunity arises. Still, the results are practically unanimous: staying connected to people in the real world makes you a much better conversationalist. Oh yea, and then there’s all those lost moments spent flicking through news feeds while eating with your family or chatting with backpacker mates you’ll get back!
To seize the moment
Imagine missing a roaring lion on the African plains, or the coolest buskers in Barcelona. Imagine scrolling through your inbox when the uber-rare resplendent quetzal of Costa Rica finally leaves its perch amidst the cloud forests of Monteverde. Imagine passing up a chance for a free bungee jump or zipline, a surfing lesson, or a couple of beers with the sunset in favor of an evening on the internet. The upshot: forget what’s happening online and you’re more likely to make the most of what’s happening around you!
To take in the scenery
Perhaps you don’t quite remember how gorgeous that Caribbean Beach looked because you were too busy trying to find the right filter for it? Maybe you’ve got plenty of snaps from the Grand Canyon, just very few memories of the great gorge? Or is the Instagram packed with cool shots, while there’s nothing in the mind recalling the soaring mountains of Panama, the jungles of Vietnam or the aromatic street foods of Bangkok? If so, it’s time to look up from the screen and smell the roses!
To discover more about yourself
Social media can be a darn selfish affair; folk always looking for that perfect display picture, that like-garnering status or witty comment. That’s all very well, and it may just help you discover what side looks better and which pictures of cute puppies you like the most. It ain’t no deep introspection though. For that we should follow the likes of Wordsworth or Buddha, disconnected from the world and in real solitude, where our thoughts can contemplate things without urgency - and preferably no notification sound buzzing every 30 seconds!
To discover other things you enjoy
So long have smartphones and laptops been a staple of our lives that many of us have forgotten what it was we enjoyed doing when touch screens weren’t on the menu. Take your disconnection as a chance to rediscover your other favorite idle pursuits, whether it’s a spot of language learning, a game of Bridge, pen twiddling, or simply some daydreaming and people watching.
To get healthy
There’s no time sink worse than Twitter, or Facebook, or colourful Instagram with its enticing and jealousy-inducing pictures of folk indulging their wanderlust right across the globe. But instead of whiling away that spare hour putting the thumb muscle to work on a bout of social media, why not consider putting the body to work. Some running will get you out into the world, get you breathing fresh air, and get the blood flowing. Or, take things one step further and go for the YogaLife away from the tech entirely, stretching out on the rocks of the Thai Andaman by morning and sipping healthy smoothies by the pool during the afternoon!
To reconnect with the world
The wise, wise Buddha once remarked: “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Never has a mantra rung truer than in today’s age of ceaseless technology and connection. For the perpetual posters and Facebook stream checkers, questions arise: how can you expect to fully give yourself to a digital world? Scratch that: How can you expect to even discover your world while wrapped up on a machine?!
"Rich is a traveler, writer and filmmaker who's always after somewhere new to go. He's been hopping around the globe since 2011, from Poland to Paris, Mumbai to Ho Chi Minh. He runs several travel sites of his own, from Ski Eastern to Live Krakow to Crabs Move Sideways. When he's not planning his next trip, he's usually listening to 50s jazz, surfing in Wales, skiing in the Alps, or just swigging (too much) great craft beer."
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