“The internet has gone!”
Four little words that strike fear into the hearts of an entire generation. What the chuff are we supposed to do with no WiFi?
Well we found out after finding ourselves without WiFi in our apartment in Spoleto, it worked the first two days and then it was gone, never to be seen until an hour before we were due to leave three days later.
This was a real eye opener for us. I hadn’t realised just how attached we had become to being constantly “plugged in” checking email, checking Instagram, Facebook or looking up some random question that pops in your head at any given time, anything and everything is at our fingertips these days.
We did think of heading to TIM (the phone place in Italy) to get a SIM for our portable router we’d bought in Rome two years before when we found ourselves with no internet access, it was a no brainer at that time, we didn’t give it a second thought, but this time we thought, no. We don’t need it. We can do three days without internet, can’t we?
We had to think back to the last time we had no internet for more than 24 hours and we had to go back a long way, 6 years to be precise. 6 years, that can’t be right, how does that happen? So this was it, we were doing it, a digital detox.
So what did that mean for our daily routine, how were we going to function abroad without Google? We immediately found out how reliant we had become when we tried to get a train from Spoleto to Foligno, a simple journey, but when you arrive at the station 10 minutes after the train has left and the next one isn’t for another 3 hours, well, google would have helped us along that morning and we may have not stopped for that coffee and been on that train.
Oh well, turns out for the best though as we popped into a pizzeria, grabbed a couple of slices of pomodoro & funghi and made our way up to the castle at the top of the hill and had an impromptu picnic in the most glorious surroundings, so perhaps fate conspired against us to make us spend more time in this gorgeous place.
I read quite a lot anyway, but with more time on my hands from not being glued to the screen, I read a little bit more. I sat out on my square of patio, with the sun streaming through the trees warming my face as I battled aliens light years away (I was trying a new genre for me, Sci-Fi). It’s quite the contrast, surrounded by the rolling hills of Umbria whilst reading of desolate planets and universal war. I maybe should have chosen something a little lighter perhaps or in keeping with the environment I was in, but hey ho!
We both found ourselves having to rely on our memories to remember details that we would normally just look up, daft things like films we’d watched, the actors in them, what else they had been in, podcasts we’d listened to that threw up questions about previous work from a particular person. I found myself resorting to going through the alphabet to recall names and places, so very basic, but something I haven’t needed to do in a very long time.
While we were in the train station the day before we had to memorize the train schedule for getting back to Rome on the Sunday, as we wanted to be there early in the morning so missing the first train would mess up our plans. We were getting the hang of this back to basics stuff and I was actually really enjoying not having the feeling that I needed to be checking emails or posting onto Instagram, I wasn’t sat with my tablet next to me turning it on every time it flashed in case I was missing something important. It was indeed very freeing.
We managed 3 days without internet, the world did not end and we didn’t really miss anything of import. It actually gave us the chance to re-evaluate our on-line time, I mean, we’re not bad, we’re not waking in the middle of the night to check or anything, but I think we can cut out some of the junk, I admit, I’ve seen me pass the time reading some truly dreadful articles about absolutely nothing, but the catchy headline drags you in and once you’ve read it and realised it was utter nonsense, you’ve already wasted your precious time on it, so I’ve started unfollowing, unliking and deleting a lot of stuff I just don’t want to see anymore.
I’ve also recently found that I have quite the liking for podcasts, many that are informative and give me an insight into things that actually interest me like Health & Fitness, Roman History and Architecture, Comedy (a lot of comedy), True Crime (think How to make a murderer). I did try an audio book but the soothing voice sent me to sleep within 4 minutes, so maybe I just stick to using my eyes for that one!
So, in conclusion – put the tablet, phone, laptop down and go for your own digital detox, even if it’s just for a day!