It is difficult for our generation to come to terms with the fact that there is life beyond a computer screen. I live far from home, I do not know the language of the country I currently live in, I do not work in a traditional office and the most difficult time of my life has been when my computer crashed, about three weeks back. And even worse, I had to travel without it!
How internet has made our world bigger
The internet revolution is said to have shrunk the world, but I think in most cases, it has made the world much bigger. We know more now. There are many more possibilities. Businesses have flourished and people are constantly on the move, for work and pleasure alike. Most of it was possible because of the technological advancement and ease of access to information. In short, things have changed, but what has changed even more is what we consider our basic needs! From the traditional, as we say in India, ‘Roti, Kapda, Makaan’ (Food, Clothes, House), we have moved on to ‘Roti, Computer, Wi-fi’. Isn’t that true? I realized this back home in India, while spending my time truly being there, without my ‘not yet repaired’ laptop.
Disconnected made me connected
Initially, I felt lost. I had to re-plan my entire daily activity. It was the kind of vacation I did not plan or want. But then, I came to terms with life and my days and nights off the virtual world made me realize:
- 24 hours is a really long time
- I had not seen my friends in over 3 months
- Best ideas come from inside and experience and not google
- Extensive chats and emails can still not beat a personal call
- I still know how to actually write with a pen on paper and it is fun
- Books truly are amazing
- I can cook even without looking up a recipe online
- My neighbors have moved out and I never knew who they were
- I would like to have a garden
- I would like to spend less time on my computer
I love to travel, but there is always a pressure to share that experience with the rest of the world. Sending real time feeds on facebook/twitter, sharing location information and our #instalife, how did we even get here? I miss that immense joy that used to come from finally looking at the printed pictures of the family vacation. Every single click had a story associated with it.
How fixated are we with our gadgets! The technology has consumed us. There are so many benefits as well. Like, I can work from anywhere in the world, all I need is an internet connection. But, is our fixation justified? I do not think so.
As soon as my computer was repaired, I decided to write this post and did some research about the concept of staying away from internet. It is called ‘Internet Fasting’ and is gaining popularity with cultures that traditionally emphasize more on communities, and have seen a shift in their younger generations who are rarely seen without a mobile phone in their hands. Japanese Government has plans to ‘cure’ their teenagers by organizing ‘Internet Fasting Camps’. Shocking! Isn’t it?
If you want to try it out I also recommend reading the experience of Brian Vogt “5 things I learned from my internet fast“. He got really valuable insights. He mentioned “Slowly throughout the week I felt the slave-chains fall off. And by the end, I felt truly detached. I’m often amazed at how stepping away from something can allow you to see how tight its grip really is. The digital fast realigned my priorities”.
So, pretend your computer just crashed and TRAVEL. Travel offline and find out what have you missed out in life, while you were online! What about you? Have you ever intentionally online disconnected yourself?