Tune out…switch on
Do you ever just switch off?
In my last blog post here I told you about the amazing trip I was taking with my husband, which took in 10 countries in 9 weeks. We had a fabulous time; we ate, drank, walked…boy, did we walk! And we switched off.
Lots of people have asked us what the highlight of the adventure was for us and I unequivocally say it was the walk. Also known as The Way or The Camino de Santiago de Compostela, it spans the top of north western Spain. We covered 220kms in 10 consecutive days. Our feet hurt and our legs ached, but we pretty much smiled all the way (although that had a lot to do with how lucky we were with the weather!)
We met some amazing people, some of whom were walking the full 800kms on their own (although you can’t possibly be alone the whole time; there are far too many people to chat to along the way). On the day we completed our 220kms we were two of about 35 people who finished the walk that day. The numbers rise steadily through the summer to somewhere in the hundreds each day.
At the beginning we decided to document our walk on Facebook so our friends/relatives etc knew we were safe/uninjured etc. and because that’s what we do, right? But as the walk progressed we became less and less inclined to spend our down time in a new village/town searching for a decent WIFI connection (in the middle of rural northern Spain, this was a challenge) and then uploading photos etc…when we could be connecting with people and places we’d never seen before. In person. For real. And so eventually we decided to switch off. Completely.
It was so lovely to spend time together just walking, chatting and exploring, not checking Facebook, not snapping photos because we thought they’d make an impression on Instagram. Not wondering who had ‘liked’ our posts etc… It was liberating and refreshing to talk to people and look around us in our little bubble; to notice things like how the snow crunched under our feet, how the wind felt on our faces, how free we were, and very lucky, to be able to do this. And it was so good not to know what was happening on the other side of the world/all the crappy things going on. It’s amazing how social media permeates everything we do these days.
Add to this the fact that a couple of weeks later I dropped my phone down a Russian toilet and couldn’t communicate with anyone digitally at all, my tuning out was now not deliberate but forced!! Having no phone was weird, (I use it mainly to take photos anyway)…but it was genuinely interesting to sit at a café or on a train and people watch. Mainly, to see people glued to their devices!! Also, to see people trip up, fall over or bump into others because they were staring down at their screens as they walked!!!
So now I’m home I’m trying to take weekends off social media. Switching off and breathing, chatting, exploring…is that something you do? Ever had a digital detox? What do you think?