Advice Journal Tech

Traveling Unplugged: Is It Possible To Explore “Off The Grid” In Today’s World?

Paper maps, printed directions, mix CD’s in tow – these nostalgic memories of vacations are now just a figment of my imagination. With the fasted paced, screen-savvy millennial generation becoming the main audience taking part in travel, it’s hard not to wonder how impossible traveling unplugged seems. In today’s technology-ridden world, is it even possible to explore without phones, GPS’s and Instagram? I believe it is. And today, I’m sharing some insight on the joy that comes when breaking away from modern technology when traveling.

No Wifi – No Problem

My personal journey with traveling unplugged stems from my time on the coast of Thailand. Each morning, I’d have my regular internet check-in, and then I would leave my phone behind. A shocking idea, isn’t it? Abandoning my beloved iPhone was a struggle, but considering that our destinations were wifi free and in the wild, why bring it along anyway?

Being disconnected for the day allowed me to worry less about constantly updating my friends and family, and allowed me to ignore the constant need to know what was going on at home. No wifi? No problem. Traveling disconnected is like a wild experiment in today’s day and age. Imagine a world without tagged locations and live tweets!

Peace Of Mind

Digital detoxing brings one obviously huge benefit – peace of mind. The serenity of being absolutely present in your surroundings is a gift that is becoming more and more rare. Mindfulness, and being thoughtful about your own inner dialogue, wonderings and daydreams, comes with focus and being in tune with ourselves. With the distractions of push notifications, beeping alarms and tagged posts… how can a modern woman keep herself centered? A conscious effort to digitally disconnect might be the first step.

During my days exploring beautiful Thailand’s beaches, I found myself breathing in the absolute splendor of not needing to “prove” my travels and daily explorations. Instead, I was able to just simply enjoy myself. I didn’t worry about finding the perfect Instagrammable moment. And instead, I found myself savoring the simple moments. The dense, thick air of humid summer. The swaying of palm trees. The stray, friendly dogs who lean so lovingly for more pets. You’ll be shocked at how much more observant and present you are in your daily life without a phone in hand.

Simple Ideas For Traveling Unplugged

Traveling unplugged doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to throw away your phone for weeks upon end. By all means, travel your way! Whether that means you simply leave your phone behind at the hotel during your afternoon or that you book a silent meditation retreat for yourself, do it your way. Here are some ideas for traveling unplugged:

  • Document your trip entirely through film – a true lesson in being digitally disconnected and allows you to feel more in tune with the art of capturing images.
  • As mentioned above, leave your phone behind for an hour or two!
  • Only take photographs during moments that absolutely stop you dead in your tracks
  • Bring a notebook to write down stunning moments you don’t want to forget.
  • Look up “forest bathing” or “shinrin-yoku” – the art of enjoying the serenity of nature
  • Leave your headphones in your bag and listen to the surrounding noises, you can learn an awful lot about a place this way!
  • Bring cards to entertain yourself and friends, it’s also a great ice breaker with locals.
  • Set a specific “check in” time once a day to update your friends and family about what you’ve been up to.
  • Make it a standard rule to not whip your phone out during dinner.

Have you ever travel unplugged? What were some of the discoveries you made without a phone in hand?

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