Let me begin by shamelessly boasting that I recently trekked to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa. It was probably the coolest thing I have ever done but during the five days of the climb, I was without cell phone service, Wifi or even electrical outlets.
You can likely imagine the very profound and clichéd things that one manages to appreciate while on top of a mountain and in the absence of a phone or the Internet.
Don’t get me wrong, picturesque sunsets and pretty flowers are all well and good, but let’s delve into some of the less expected pleasures that a person can enjoy while disconnected from the digital world.
1. Not Having to Play the "Phone Battery Life" Game
Our daily lives seem to revolve around the strategic challenge of trying to keep our cell phone with enough battery life to last us the day. We need multiple chargers: One for home, one for the office, one for the car. "Is it bad if I leave it charged for too long?" "Oh no, I’m down to less than 10 percent." So yes, the whole non-issue of this is actually very enjoyable.
2. Dwelling on Trivia Questions
How regularly do you have a conversation with someone, in which some sort of trivia question comes up: "What were the names of The Jackson 5? Michael, Tito, Jermaine, Jackie…"
Ordinarily, a quick Google search will tell you the answer you're missing, but what happens when you don’t have that immediate gratification? It turns out there’s actually something quite enjoyable about having to wait for that tip-of-the-tongue answer to organically come to you. (By the way, the final member is Marlon.)
3. Food and Mealtimes
Meal times often become short-lived events in our day, spent trying to multitask between the necessary act of feeding ourselves while reading our texts, checking Facebook or watching YouTube videos.
Without these virtual outlets, what on earth are we to do while eating?! Coincidentally, it's very pleasing to allow a mealtime to last a little longer, while taking in your surroundings or even having a real face-to-face conversation!
4. No Snapchat Notifications
We’ve really let ourselves go with this one! Snapchat has somehow become an avenue for the most superficial and pointless displays of human nature. Yet, we can’t help but curiously watch each video and look at each photo. Most of the time, our only logical reason for opening each notification is so that we can remove those annoying red and orange icons from our phone screen. Needless to say, the void of Snapchat notifications is rather pleasant when disconnected from the world.
5. No FOMO
Ironic as it may seem, when you find yourself completely aloof from any glimpse of the modern world, there really is nothing to FOMO over. Most commonly, we concern ourselves over missing out on something, when we are somewhat or slightly connected to the world.
When we catch the subject of a website link, but aren’t able to access the page or when we see a snippet of a conversation between two friends but don’t manage to read the whole thread. Yet, when we are completely disconnected, there is no way of experiencing FOMO, since you don’t even know what you could be FOMO-ing on.
6. Not Having an Annoying Song Stuck in your Head
Most likely, that annoying tune that somehow replays itself over and over again in your head usually comes from something you’ve heard on the radio, seen on TV or found on the Internet.
Of course, this could also come from overhearing someone else singing, humming or whistling a tune that they picked up from one of the aforementioned places. So what do you think happens when none of these outlets are accessible? Well the answer is simple: No annoying song stuck in your head!
7. Brain Games and Counting
When all else fails, how do you occupy those long periods of time that just need to be filled with something… anything? In the absence of everything else, we resort to clever little brain games, counting exercises and cognitive challenges. In doing so, we utilize a level of our own creativity that we never need to tap into in our over-programmed lives otherwise.
8. Appreciating the Basic Commonalities of Humankind
This one happens to be a little deeper. When we are stripped of all the superficial means that otherwise enable us to live in our own little insular worlds, we start to break down the barriers and separations that exist between ourselves and others.
Even the most polar opposite of people can find a sense of connection with one another, when put in a position of being disconnected from the larger virtual world.
Photo via We Heart It