I’m not a hardcore geek per se, but I did spent most of my waking life on the Internet. Since my business (BucketListly) revolves around the Internet, the decision to be disconnected did not come easy.
Last month, I decided to go on a 7 days trek through the Himalayas (Annapurna base camp) in Nepal alone and I was able to experienced and observed what it would be like to be cut off from the world and be completely disconnected from the Internet. Here are the things I’ve learned throughout the trek:
Since I was spending 8 hours a day trekking in the forest alone, social interaction becomes rare. As a social animal, we are wired to socialize, that’s why bored people escaped and resided on Facebook. While on the trek, I spent the entire day climbing stairs and the only time I was able to have a conversation with someone is when I arrived at the lodge and everyone was sitting in the dining room waiting for food. That’s where I found myself to be most of the time, sitting in the dining hall, striking conversation with people I shared tables with.
The amazing thing is that us humans, when we lag the instant access to the social interaction provided by the Internet, will fall back to our roots, and interact with each other through the traditional art of storytelling. People gathers in groups, share stories about their adventures, and engaged with one another in a meaningful way. I have, for the first time in my life, witnessed a truly raw emotional phenomena that unfortunately is fading away in our society. No matter how great technologies are, engaging people through face-to-face storytelling will always create a much more meaningful relationship between people.
Since everyone was also being disconnected and they were no longer bound themselves to the screen in front of them, people turned to each other and start conversing , the old fashion way. Everyone always said hi to each other, tell a joke like they were long time friends, and help each other out without expecting anything in return. Attention is easier to come by than the world where people got distracted by all sort of things.
Since there’s nothing much to do in the evening while on the trek, most people will go to bed at around 8 PM. I also found myself doing the same, but to my surprise, when I woke up at 6 in the morning, I was feeling more restful, regardless of all the exercises the day before, than when I was living comfortably at home. The rate our body recovers itself fascinates me. All I need to do is give my body enough sleep and all my energy are replenished the next day.
There’s no doubt that the Internet has impacted the way we live greatly, but did you know that you are also getting less sleep because of it? The Internet is addictive, and we tend to lose track of time while using it. How many of you check your phone before sleeping? I’m sure the majority does this because I also used to do it as well. How is it that the tired me in the mountain can become more restful than the comfortable me in the city? I believe that’s the side effect of the Internet
After 5 days without the Internet, I realized how peaceful I was. There’s nothing to rush for, no email to reply, no tweet to tweet back, no chat to respond, and best of all, there’s no news to read. I had no idea what was happening in the world and I prefer it that way. The more news I consume, the more depressed I become. All I had to do up there was to try and make the next step safely. This is the first time I was able to become stress-free for the whole 7 days and it was a bliss.
Our modern lifestyle enable us to do more, but is doing more what we really need? Life is as simple as getting to the destination safely but we tend to complicate it by do the wrong things. Being disconnected for a whole week made me realize that most of the things I do, the things I believed I could’t live without, don’t matter. It also taught me the importance of storytelling and how rare meaningful interactions are in the age of social networks. The best thing you can give to people you care about is your attention.
Let me propose to you an experiment. Tomorrow, instead of chatting on WhatApps, try turning it off and let people call you, say hi to strangers, don’t consume any news, slow down your life, and sleep early, and let me know how you feel the next day.
I hope you enjoyed the post and if you have any suggestion to add to the list, feel free to tweet me or leave a comment below.