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A Digital Detox Vacation

April 11, 2018

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Last week we gave you information on where to go when you decide to break your phone habit. Put another way, the author was horrified when she discovered that she picked up her iPhone 64 times in four-plus hours. She felt she needed help fast.

 

I still had that blog in my head when I ran across an intriguing article that takes this issue even further. It’s called The Conscious Nomad and it appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of AFAR – a relatively new magazine that I started reading recently.

The writer of this intriguing piece, Ashlea Halpern, talked at length with Sara Clemence, author of a new book titled, Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel. In a nutshell, Sara wants you to switch your phone to airplane mode, talk to strangers and tune into a world without digital noise while you’re on vacation. We’re giving you Sara’s comments in bulleted form because she has a lot of very interesting things to say (much more than we can fit into a 600-word blog).

  • As a travel writer, I’m increasingly conscious of how different travel feels when I’m interacting less with my phone. Doing stuff on your phone can be really efficient. But “most efficient” doesn’t always mean “best.” If you don’t use your phone to figure out public transportation, it will take longer. But you’re on vacation, not a commute. Who cares?
  • Technology completely changes your vibe. Let’s say that I’m traveling with my family in Hamburg. The kids are hungry, so I’m looking up a lunch spot on my phone. I stop hearing my own children. It’s like my brain goes inside my phone. I just tune out sights, sounds and smells around me. It’s weird.
  • For example, we can shoot an infinite number of photos with our phones – it’s easy – but it’s also mindless. I suggest going back to 35mm because with film cameras you have a limited number of shots. Suddenly you’re not taking 65 photos of your sandwich.
  • The point of a vacation is to take a break from your hamster wheel of a life, but social media can put you on a different type of wheel. In London recently I saw more people trying to position their selfie in front of Big Ben than I saw actually looking at the thing.
  • I have never taken a digital detox but I have unwittingly ended up in places where there was no cell signal and I once lost my phone in Stockholm. My husband was consoling me, but I was like, “You know what? It’s okay. It’s just a thing.” And the next few days were really enjoyable.
  • My book warns against overstuffing an itinerary. Cramming 10 cities into eight days has always been a bad idea, even before we had phones. I also suggest slowing down and boarding a random bus to see the part of a city you would miss otherwise. For example, I rode a bus in Hong Kong with my mother. We weren’t going anywhere in particular – just sitting on a bus, seeing what we could see.
  • And, instead of checking the time with a phone – use a watch. Why? Because if you look at your phone, you’re going to see a text message or an Instagram notification or a news alert. It’s all about breaking these habits.

There’s lots more terrific, solid advice in Sara’s book (you can reserve it at your local library or buy it on Amazon). This blog is just the tip of the iceberg – that you may see one day with your new 35mm camera when you’re shooting in Antarctica!

MAY WE SUGGEST…

Spring is finally on the horizon. Are you ready for summer? It no time you’ll be wearing short sleeves again – time to look at – and buy ADEA’s tanks and layering tops.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick



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