Dis·con·nect (diskəˈnekt) verb – break the connection of or between.
In a society that revolves around connection, is the act of disconnecting truly possible?
What does it mean to disconnect?
Disconnecting could be simply removing yourself from a person or environment that doesn’t serve you growth and optimism.
Disconnecting is detaching yourself from everything you know in order to experience something completely unknown.
Disconnecting is connecting…with yourself, your surroundings, and your community.
Ways to successfully disconnect:
1. Travel with purpose of engagement, not just for the Instagram photo – As a travel blogger, Influencer, social media advocate, we emerge through vulnerability from the exposure of our lives and travels. But, what is our intention in doing so? Traveling should encourage you to experience new things for yourself, not for everyone else.
2. Don’t buy an internet plan unless you absolutely need one – It may sound appealing to always be connected to the internet, but challenge yourself to break up with social media for a bit and just absorb.
3. Be Authentic – Don’t be the person who works so hard to create a facade over Instagram to make themselves more appealing. Be better in person.
How does disconnecting serve you?
Only when you remove yourself from your phone and the self promotion caused by social media apps, can you truly experience something authentically.
It’s remarkable that Kyle and I are here today working on developing/promoting our travel blog while trying to gain a following through Instagram. Before we began our 300 day adventure through SE Asia, Kyle didn’t even have an Instagram, we both were horrible at remembering to take photos at events, and to be honest the last thing on our mind was blogging.
The first few months we traveled, I can genuinely say we disconnected in many ways. This was an adjustment for both of us. We would go days, sometimes even weeks without service strong enough to even access social media applications. There were places we traveled to where connection made it difficult to communicate with family and friends.
For hundreds of years, people would spend months apart with their only form of communication being hand written letters.
So, what makes it so difficult now to remove ourselves for a short time?
In today’s society our natural reaction is to pull our phone out of our pocket when we are waiting for… really anything. Maybe we are walking from the car to our office, maybe we are waiting in line at the grocery store, or maybe we are even sitting on the couch at a friend’s house watching tv.
In my opinion this is sad, but I am also the first to admit I am so guilty in doing this. What we don’t realize is this shuts us off from our surroundings and can even inhibit our relationships.
Think about it, when you are walking somewhere with your nose in your phone, you are ultimately sending a signal to everyone around you that you don’t want to engage. Not only do you miss out on the ability to form new relationships, but what you also unknowingly miss out on is actively experiencing your surroundings.
Maybe you are reading this and thinking “who cares?”. You’re right. Maybe this won’t affect you, maybe you have great friends and and know the walk from your car to your office like the back of your hand. You feel no reason to disconnect and that’s okay.
But, how does your mentality change when you are traveling?
Now picture yourself waiting in line at the Visa Center in Cambodia for your border hop and you have zero service. I’m going to guess this puts you out of your comfort zone. You lift your head to look around you and you see you are surrounding by a mix of people in the same boat as you. Maybe some are locals and don’t speak English, but what if they do?
Maybe you are like Kyle and I, feeling a bit nervous and a little lost until you find yourself a group of backpackers from Germany who take you under their wing. You go through the Immigration process together avoiding the prevalent scammers trying to tell you that you need to pay a certain fee to pay for a different visa. We would have spent hundreds of extra dollars and possibly missed our bus if we hadn’t found this group.
Do your best to engage with your surroundings. It forces you, for your safety and wellbeing, to be aware and interact to fulfill your goal.
Over the course of our 300 day journey, Kyle and I learned to let go and accept the fact that we couldn’t be on our phones throughout the day, we learned to be authentic in our actions in order to create meaningful media, and closed our eyes and threw ourselves into the complete unknown. Some of our best memories and monumental moments we kept completely to ourselves. And that’s the point.
Know and be aware that not everything exciting and adventurous has to be shared. Sometimes you need to just do it for yourself and that’s going to be what sets you apart.
By all means share what you want, but don’t forget to do things for yourself, not just for the audience you are appealing to.
The power of disconnection
These experiences that don’t involve technology force us to open our perspective and to connect with not only ourselves, but also others. It is easy to write someone off the moment you see them as someone you don’t want to interact with. We are all guilty of this, everyone is.
Something Kyle and I learned throughout our travels is that everyone has a story. Before we began I think I am being honest when I am saying we were being more judgmental of people just based on our different backgrounds.
Your guard is up and you want to stick to what you know.
To disconnect creates endless connections. We met people from all over the world, from different upbringings, different cultures, races, and ages. We explored with them, got to know them, and it changed us for the better. Kyle and I became more open, honest, and adaptable to change. We thrived.
If you can take one thing away from this message, I want you to take away this: life is good when you are comfortable, but your life will only flourish when you let go of what you think others expect from you.
Challenge yourself to disconnect so you can connect with the world around you, build stronger relationships, and touch the lives of others.
Call to action
It’s an easy thing to say and another thing to actually do. So how can we make a change?
It can be as simple as trying to go the first 30 minutes at a restaurant without asking for the wifi code.
Challenge yourself to go without internet access while you are out exploring. You can always post when you are back in your accommodation.
If you choose to get a data plan, we understand because navigation and staying connected is important. But, try to turn on airplane mode when you are out and about to avoid notifications and distractions. I know the temptation of checking the likes on an Instagram post is real, but I promise it won’t change the outcome of your day.
Thank you for reading and I hope you can take something away from this post! To keep up with our future adventures click the follow button below.
Join our new community by hash tagging #dreambigpacksmall on future Instagram posts and we will give you a shoutout!
Let’s use our phones less 🙂