Thursday, 27 July 2017

Reflections on a Tech-Free Week

Photo by: Elijah Hiett 

My husband and I were in Alaska last week.

The scenery and wildlife were spectacular and humbling but perhaps the most impactful aspect of the trip came from a decision we made before we boarded the plane to Anchorage.

We decided our week would be entirely tech free: no phones, no ipads, no laptops, no internet.

This also meant no cameras.

When blessed with the sight of wild transient orcas, instead of trying to time a picture perfectly for when they breached we took in their majesty with no lens between us and them. There was no filter, no need for social validation. It was beautiful, they were beautiful. It was enough.

Not preoccupied with getting photos, we left our fellow passengers on the port side to check out the starboard side where we caught sight of a cute seal’s failed negotiations with a group of sea lions for a spot on their sunny rock. It was very, ‘Finding Dory’ and oh so cute! We were, (to my knowledge) the only ones to see this.

There were other benefits as well.

With no technology between us, our conversations were without interruption. We were free to sink into each other and the topics we discussed deeply, passionately. Without fact checking devices we stumbled through subject matter as best we could based on memory and experience. Trying to recall information and figure things out for ourselves was fun and often times down right hilarious. The conversations found their natural ebb and flow, a satisfying rhythm.

There was an ease to the days and we found ourselves truly in our lives, instead of observing and cataloguing them for others.

When inspiration hit, we wrote it down with pen and paper. When we were tired and in need of a rest, we read physical books. We read fiction without alerts, texts or ads to distract or guilt us about what we ought to be doing, seeing, or being. Nothing over the course of the week made us feel ‘less than.’

There is not a single picture of us on this trip. None are needed. The whales, the glaciers, the sea lions, otters, eagles, water, fresh air all came home with us in ways that a picture or even this blog post will never fully do justice.

Our resolution upon our return is a simple one: less technology, more real life. Less cataloguing, more living.

- J

*J, I'm glad you had such a great trip! Re: using technology I am on the opposite end of this spectrum, I LOVE to take photos / catalogue my life (and often use my phone to do so). However, when doing this I will usually put my phone on airplane mode to avoid the alerts you speak about so I don't feel compelled to read or respond. As well, my husband and I have been enjoying dinners together without phones for the last few years. We have been known to break this rule on occasion but nobody's perfect :D - M

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Maira Gall