If you can’t tell, I haven’t been online very much over the last week…
AND IT IS FRUSTRATING THE BEGEEZUS OUT OF ME!
I have been traveling in Paris over the last 9 days with extremely unreliable wifi. It’s my fault for depending solely on hotel wifi rather than springing for the international data package.
In fact, while writing this post, I was disconnected and almost lost all of it. Garrrr…
There have been negative and positive outcomes from this experience, however.
Over the last few days, I have felt the frustrating/liberating effect of being disconnected, and wanted to share with you all my first-hand lessons from my trip thus far.
Here’s some of my experience over the past week+ and what I’ve learned from it…
We’ve been eating very un-personal-trainer-y things and walking all over the city. We even went to Disneyland Paris (one of my life-list items is to go to every Disney park in the world)!
Knowing that I couldn’t check email was actually quite nice.
I didn’t need to be with anyone else than who I was with at that moment, which allowed me to fully connect to the experience.
The tastes. The sights. The cold- it’s 32 outside right now… I consider 60 to be pretty chilly…
Disconnecting from the virtual world allowed me space to connect to the present one.
There were many instances in which any kind of connection would have been helpful…
Google translator, for instance. We tried to speak French, but our few free podcasts that promised conversational French in 15 minutes a day ended up helping us only to a certain point… which ended right after “Bonjour.”
A metro map; Paris is known for its pick-pockets. We might as well have worn neon t-shirts marked “TOURIST” when we had to bring out our humongous fold-out map after exiting metro stations.
The moment my boyfriend became my fiancée at Sacre Couer was one that I really wanted to share with my parents, but alas, I had to wait until I got back to the hotel and pay for an hour of wifi so I could use my G-chat to call them.
And finally: Knowing I can’t check email is one thing. Knowing I can’t comment back to readers or write back to coaching clients is quite another.
I have fought long and hard to find a career that I am passionate about. I truly love what I do and am passionate about Strong Inside Out becoming a supportive, motivating community. Not being connected to it at any point feels unnatural and downright wrong.
My outlet is writing. Without it, I feel a bit emotionally constipated. In this way, it disconnected me from my current state: I write here to work things out in my head. Not having this resource kept my head jumbly and less clear than usual.
All of these things I take for granted back in the states. Here, I could stomp my feet as much as I wanted, but still couldn’t do anything about it.
Though I admit I am over-connected back in the US, I feel like I have been a bit stunted by the lack of it over here. Through this experience, I have added a resolution to my list for this year to begin immediately:
For one full day of the week, leave your data pack at home.
This means: concentrate on your present first-hand relationships; do things outside that interest you; experience life in the present!
I have been working toward this step for a while, but I think that after this trip, my what-am-I-missing-phobia can take a backseat to life itself.
I think we could all use a bit of disconnection to help us connect to the present. What do you think?
Are you plugged in to too many sources? Are you struggling to find balance with your connection to the TV, your phone, or the computer? What would it be like to–even for 5 hours one day a week–turn those gadgets off?
photo 1 by linh.ngân, the rest by me