Off the Grid?
Detoxing from social media is something, I admit, I need to do more often. How many times have you said or thought "I need to stop scrolling through my newsfeed" whether that would be right before bed, or while you're writing a blog (me) or when you should be doing work/homework and you find yourself creeping back into your friend's cousin's sister's blogger friend's Instagram and #Liketoknowit page. We've all been there. I hope. Because I have way too many times.
Before I came over to Madrid, I had this notion that it would be the same like when I studied abroad...(which I'll get into in another post). I wouldn't have a data plan for my phone and just use whatever Wifi (pronounced wee-fee, because Spain) was available. I remember it being so refreshing making plans beforehand and meeting up and you had a 15 minute timeframe to arrive to the predetermined destination before your group left you (hello! The good ol days!) I lived very in the moment then. Oh, the simpler times.
Well, I have to say that is so not how it is here. I have to have a phone plan to talk with my school, make appointments, and other logistical life problems and situations that require technology for convenience and that's totally fine with me. I get it. However, I find myself being sucked into it all sometimes, way more so than three years ago. Maybe because I'm not in my own study abroad bubble anymore. I'm really living here. I do use social media now to get recommendations, connect with people, and post as a Teach Abroad Correspondent.... While still sometimes aimlessly scrolling. Honestly, it affects and triggers a lot of my anxiety. It takes away being in the moment and reminding myself I'm in Spain... and this maybe won't last forever. TBD on whether I ever move back.
Don't get me wrong. When I'm traveling, I don't have data and since my Spanish phones dies so fast (hi, iphone 5), I do feel "off the grid" when I'm in a different country. I usually just have my DSLR camera and snap a few pictures and for the most part take it all in with my own eyes. I love it. It's when I'm at my happiest and calmest, just being, breathing and taking it in. I think we all need to do it more often. Take your quick photos but put. it. away. I look around and people at museums and at famous monuments and they are all on their phones. Selfie photo anyone? But seriously. What are you going to do with approximately 50+ photos of the same thing? Share all 50+ photos on Facebook? Show all your friends when you get home? Highly doubtful. Is it just going to sit in your icloud library, filling up storage until you get that annoying storage almost full notification??? I hope my frustration is radiating through your screen. Even from three years ago, It seems like a completely different world to me. People are just more addicted. But then, here I am when I'm not traveling..being THAT person on their phone....so I'm a hypocrite for this.
Just one of my many reflections while being here: I need to incorporate my traveling habits with me in my day to day life and stop looking at the nightmare of the screen and aimlessly scrolling when it's not needed. Communicate when necessary and put it away. We'll see how this goes and if I can follow my advice in the following weeks. Now, my advice would be to leave this page, exit the browser and be off the grid for a little awhile :) It's good for the soul.