Listen, I know what I’m about to suggest is not for every traveler, and in this day and age sounds downright blasphemous to most, but I am still going to say it. On your next vacation UNPLUG. Take a vacation from your email, your cellphone, your facebook friends. Leave the electronics behind and bring a book.
One of my favorite travel writers, Pico Iyer, wrote a terrific op-ed piece on this very subject and I read it every now and again to remind myself that the essence of a great trip is truly felt when you make a complete, uninterrupted departure from your everyday existence- even if only for a few hours or days.
If this concept makes your stomach churn you are not alone. But I worry that the feeling that being connected electronically keeps us connected to our world is merely a way to hide from the real deal. I too struggle with putting email on the back burner for long periods of time but usually, a few hours (sometimes a day) into a great trip, I am ready to hurl my iPhone into the sea. It doesn’t need me and I don’t need it.
Pico Iyer says, “We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.”
You just can’t do that and check your email at the same time.