Once upon a time, in a far away land there were people that went hours maybe even days without...Wi-Fi! Before you scream in horror, a land like this is no fairytale but the experience of travelers that are forced to disconnect. I know many of you will have your doubts about this. How will people know that I'm alive?? How will I see and share that funny video on facebook… will people know that I’m still a funny person?? If a picture of my Europe trip doesn’t get posted, does that mean I didn’t even go to Europe?? If you find yourself eating random McDonald’s items so that you can use their Wi-Fi or the first question you ask when you go somewhere is not “Hi, how are you?” but rather “Excuse me, what’s the Wi-Fi passcode?”, then you have experienced the shocking transition into becoming detached from your phone. This is a somewhat sad reality but it is reality nevertheless. Thus, I have devised a list of five reasons why you should stop searching for Wi-Fi while abroad:
I get it. Your mom wants to know that you are still alive and well. My mom does too. There is a time for that on each trip but there is also a living, breathing moment that is right in front of you. Live for that moment. Where you get lost with your friends because you read the map upside down. Where you admire a view without taking out your phone to take a picture of it. Where you dance your ass off in the middle of a Italian wine bar without snap chatting it.
Solitude is not secluding yourself but rather finding peace. Disconnecting from your problems, from your life at home, from everything. Giving yourself that quiet space to reflect, to be with yourself, to change your perception. You realize just how insignificant things are when you are a tiny human in the middle of the alps surrounded by massive snow covered mountains.
Make a friend or two or ten
Being without Wi-Fi forces you to abandon the habit of using your phone to avoid awkward conversations. You actually have to make solid eye contact and try and connect with people which can be pretty hard actually. But I promise you when you stop scrolling through pictures of your old friends you give yourself the opportunity to make new friends who you will grow to love just as much.
Stir your creativity
Most of my novel ideas originated from days I spent savoring the fresh air of a new space, surrounded by the unfamiliar. You realize that when you remove yourself from the things that you're used to, your creativity emerges. This newfound inspiration should be used for so much more than finding the most clever Eiffel Tower caption for your Instagram.
Quiet the chatter
We all have this fear of missing out on the scoop that some will sit in the lobby of a hostel in a foreign country scrolling to where they left off on their instagram feed. I have to ask... Does the chatter really matter? You don’t need to see that so and so saw this really cute puppy while at the mall when you are sipping wine and eating a whole baguette single handedly in a Parisian cafe.
So, disconnect from your phone. Stop searching for Wi-Fi. The potential for your trip abroad lies in more than a McDonald’s Internet password.