An Offline Exploress
Words by Marina Trevisan
Starting a new adventure is always overwhelming. The range of incredibly amazing possibilities standing in front of you is almost tactile. Sometimes though, we get caught in our own world - even in a new place - mostly because of our constant need to be “connected.”
Last summer I was forced to a technology detox. It was the beginning of my second week in Italy (I was in a volunteering program for two months) when my smartphone and camera were stolen. It was pretty upsetting and it made me incredibly anxious and nervous in the first few disconnected days. But then, I decide to embrace the experience and make the most of it.
When you go offline, you start to realize that you don’t actually need to be online the whole time. Your friends can wait for a reply, a picture doesn’t have to be posted on your profile in the exact moment you are taking it and, especially, that device in your hand doesn’t need as much attention as your surroundings.
Not having a phone to discover the time or which direction to go also forces you to engage in conversations with locals and other tourists. That’s when you connect. You connect with the people, the place, the culture – all of your senses are heightened to embrace the new – and that is amazing. You learn things, not because you read about them, but because you’ve lived the experience.
My six weeks offline were filled with great moments. I had Italians try their best to comprehend me with the few words I knew, and others go out of their way just to walk me where I wanted to go. I spent hours and hours sitting at cafes just paying attention to people and their lifestyles. I did my best to be in the moment, and save in my mental hard drive those places, those feelings and that ambiance, which I probably wouldn’t have been able to capture with my camera skills.
Even though my detox was forced upon me, it made my offline experience one of the best. All because I was truly “there” all the time - connecting with the whole spectrum of possibilities around me.