Vacationing Without Social Media COM0011

Last Monday night I boarded a plane for a short vacation. Not a long getaway, but, a getaway none the less.

In many ways it was a test for myself, it was the first time taking my kids on a plane (single dad), navigating my way through the airport with kids in tow. Taking a plane to a strange city where I had never been before. Doing as much of our pre-planned “places we wanted to see” and whatever else popped up in three short days. Also, I was going to give up my phone and social media for the duration of the trip. I got the idea of giving up the phone from one of the podcasts that I listen too. The guest gets made fun of because he has given up his smart phone for a flip phone and when he travels he takes no phone at all. His philosophy is to when you travel you need to experience it, talk to the people, observe the culture and look at your surroundings with your eyes and not through your phone. He also stated that you see how disconnected people have become. Also, I didn’t bring any electronics for my kids, we were all in this together.

 

Las Vegas

Before I left my house I posted one last time, I figured in case I had any last requests from clients or friends who were looking for me. Also, I hadn’t told too many people that I was going away and I didn’t want a constant barrage of suggestions or places people thought I needed to see. We were off and hours later we landed in Las Vegas.

Surprisingly, like it was a muscle memory the first thing I wanted to do was check my phone. I wanted to look at my post and see how many likes I had and if anyone had commented on the picture, but I didn’t. We got on the shuttle and checked into the hotel (3:30 am) our time and went to sleep.

The next day we got up early to spend the day with my sister and her family. My kids were shocked by two things they’d never seen before, people smoking inside (I’m old enough to remember that) and people drinking at eight in the morning. We met my sister at Circus Circus, my two nieces were busy snapchatting and posting to Instagram. As we sat on the tour bus, I noticed probably 25% of the bus were on their phones as the guide did the tour. Most of the people not even looking up to see famous landmarks and buildings from movies. Walking along Fremont Street a girl in front of me almost walked into traffic while on Instagram. Later while walking on the strip I took note of the amount of people stopping to take pictures and videos. Then trying frantically to upload their videos and pictures at crosswalks to social media complaining their was bad cell service. That night we went to the Avengers exhibit where we had to wait for half an hour to get in. It was interesting, we met a couple from Kentucky and so we talked. I’m amazed with the amount of information and social media that people still have dumb misconceptions about Canada. The man asked me if I’d ever been to Kentucky? I said “Yes”. He then said that he would never visit Toronto, puzzled I asked “Why not?” He said, “I’m not visiting anywhere that still has snow in July.” You would think that something about Canada would have at some point come across his social media.

Wednesday was an early shuffle, four a.m. to catch a bus to the Grand Canyon. The kids woke up to being surrounded by mountains, mouths a gap in sheer awe, this was their first time seeing mountains. They sat quite staring out the windows for the next couple of hours. The lady from New Jersey in front of us literally complained for the whole time to her husband, that there was no wifi and she couldn’t get cell service. When we at the Grand Canyon my daughter looked at it and said it looked fake and the pictures she saw online were better. After a few minutes they really started to take it in, they fed a ground squirrel, saw condors and elk, real cacti. My daughter then said to me “why are these people on their phones? They’re at the Grand Canyon”. We sat and just looked I took a few pictures but, really tried to just experience it and create a memory for my kids and myself. I started to realize that on past trips I was to busy taking pictures to really enjoy being there. Back on the bus to head back to Vegas and back to listening to New Jersey complain until she fell asleep.

Thursday was busy. Up to the effiel tower and met some more people from different places had different conversations with different people. I noticed people generally were up for conversation, those that weren’t were occupied by their phones. The cab ride after was an interesting conversation the driver was a big hockey fan and knew a lot about hockey. He was from Utah and we were his last fare before moving back there. Utah is on my bucket list of places to visit so we had a nice conversation about Utah, where to visit while we were there and how to best go about getting there. When he dropped us off he thanked me for talking to him and he was glad his last fare was a bunch of nice Canadians. We hit the sign graveyard (another bucket list stop) a very rude girl kept disrupting the tour by not paying attention and busily snapchatting, the guide asked her five times to stop. Eventually the last time he asked her to leave. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t checked or uploaded anything to my social media since Monday, I didn’t miss it but, I did wonder if I use to be that annoying person. Next stop was the High Roller, a 550 foot enclosed ferris wheel that gives you a birds eye view of the city. There was a family of four and another woman that sat for the entire duration of the ride on their phones, not looking up once. At the Bodies exhibit two teenage girls took multiple selfies with the bodies on display. A few hours later we boarded a plane back for Toronto.

Now, in no way want to sound like I’m judging these people, to each their own. Just after unplugging for a bit, I really observed how consumed people are with posting their lives online and updating their social media. This trip was good for me, not just as a break but, it also allowed me to really noticed how much time I spend on my own social media. Since returning home I’ve actually managed to really limit my time online and I am working to maintain that. I’m curious to see how long it will last.

Have you ever thought about leaving your phone behind?

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6 thoughts on “Vacationing Without Social Media COM0011

  1. Very interesting! I agree that a vacation would be more enjoyable without social media. At times, when I was busy taking pictures of a special occasion or celebration it can feel like you missed out on the event when you are looking behind a device. I would be willing to give it a try and leave social media behind during a vacation. A person can always be reached/contacted in other ways in case of an emergency. The photos or videos can be shared with family and friends over a cup of coffee once you are back.

  2. It’s easy to sort of leave social media behind when traveling outside Canada– no network haha. But then I do remember craving a wifi and racing to connect to free wifi at gas stations or restaurants– and being peeved when a chain did NOT have free wifi. When I take pictures, I won’t post (or at least it doesn’t go public) until I get home.

  3. I am taking a trip to europe in a few weeks and this is a topic that I can 100% relate to. I’m going to bring my laptop because I will need to make travel arrangements while I’m there, and I will bring my phone just in case of emergency, but I do not plan on getting any foreign sim card for my phone, so I will not really be able to use it regularly (unless I want a massive bill).

    In terms of the whole idea of being unplugged for a trip, I think it is circumstantial. For your trip you were meeting up with your sister who I am sure had her phone, so you were not completely isolated if you needed to make a call, which for solo travelers is not really an option. That being said, I completely agree with your overall argument where people need to stop living online and start living in real life.

    I think having a basic flip phone like the podcast host that you mentioned is a great idea for travellers because it gives you the necessities of communication without allowing you to spend all of your time online. People who are on their phones instead of being present in a situation, especially for a vacation that you paid for, are truly missing out.

  4. I think there is a “just” balance for everything. In the case of Social Media to keep this balance may be very difficult because of the invasive addiction of it. Just remember that before the Social Media isn’t that we went to see friends and spend the time to give our family pictures!

    My husband did live for many years without any television accusing it to provide too little content surrounded by useless or negative stuff … and he is not addicted to social media neither.

    I think to be well balanced and I have the time to communicate and the time to think or talk with my family. My kids have their phones glued to their hands.

  5. Interesting post! I have to admit that I, like many others have a hard time putting my phone down. I like to share with others the fun activities that I am taking part in and I am always curious to know who liked or commented on my experiences. I guest this is part of evolution but it is also scary to think h\of how much we are missing because we can’t take our eyes off of that little screen!

  6. Interesting post! I have to admit that I, like many others have a hard time putting my phone down. I like to share with others the fun activities that I am taking part in and, I am always curious to know who liked or commented on my experiences. I guest this is part of evolution but it is also scary to think of how much we are missing because we can’t take our eyes off of that little screen!

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