I’m struggling a little bit at the moment and I thought I’d share it with you.
But wait, before your heart leaps into your mouth in concern, I must tell you that all that afflicts me is a terribly ‘First World Problem.’
Really, it shouldn’t even register a one on the Problematic Scale Of Tricky Things To Endure.
It’s the sort of problem where the solution should be a large dose of ‘just suck it up, Princess,’ and get on with life.
As someone who travels, this kind of problem shouldn’t even be bothering me at all. It’s something that you come to expect whilst on the road. And I’m trying to see this through with good grace, I really am.
Let me put this into better context for you.
I sit and stare at my laptop screen for the umpteenth time as the little circle whirls around and around in the corner of a web page as it struggles to load and I choke back the desire to hurl my computer across the room.
I hit refresh on my Instagram only for it tell me that it ‘cannot refresh feed’, or wait for a blank page on Facebook to load with the speed of a hamster that’s fallen off its wheel and I can’t help but feel a certain amount of steam creeping out of my hairline.
Let’s put it this way: if my wifi signal was a cup of tea, its strength would be described as weak. Tepid. Lukewarm.
I think you catch my drift.
On some occasions the wifi just doesn’t connect. In some ways this is preferable. If it doesn’t connect then at least I just immediately give up and go on to do something else.
On other occasions when it does, things load with the speed of a fifteen year old, three legged daucshund climbing up the stairs.
Then the connection drops, it crashes and I am left staring at a white screen cursing the phenomenal amount of time I am wasting.
See, I told you it was a First World Problem.
I almost hate myself for complaining about this.
It also reminds me of the time recently when I took a trip from Perth to Broome (seriously, it was fabulous, and I urge you to read all about the stunning gorges, marine life and other adventures I encountered) and whilst I was travelling up along the remote highways of Western Australia I was cursing myself for making a fundamental school-girl error.
In Australia, particularly outside of the big cities, the phone network with the best coverage is by far Telstra. Was Telstra my service provider at that time I was travelling far from civilisation? Nope, it was not.
Did I have signal for any of the West Coast of Australia anywhere other than Perth and Broome? Nup.
And what irked me the most about this wasn’t the lack of phone signal as such. I mean, it’s not as if my phone rings off the hook, if at all. And the only text messages I get are from my network provider reminding me to top up the credit on my phone plan.
No, the ‘no signal’ message in the top left of my phone screen didn’t bother me as much as the fact that the majority of other people on my tour group did have Telstra and were sitting on the bus scrolling through their Instagram feeds whilst I was sat trying to ignore this fact.
Here I was, trying to embrace my signal-less existence, and thinking I could be ok with it, when I was faced with people who were still remotely plugged into an outside world that was not the incredibly beautiful landscape through which we were currently travelling.
Is Life Without Signal Really A Bad Thing?
And all of these recent technological shortcomings have got me thinking.
Is staying connected 24/7 really necessary? Do I need to be 100% contactable all the time and expect to be able to view what people on the other side of the world from me are eating for their dinners at any given moment?
No, I don’t expect this. And I don’t want it, I suppose.
The main reason that my current Wifi signal has me choking up in a blind rage is because I’m trying to access my blog on the internet and it’s just. So. Damn. Difficult. Right. Now. To. Be. Productive.
And that’s the angle I’m coming at this from. You know those moods you encounter when you’re keen to get a whole bunch of work done and you’re being thwarted by something so totally out of your control it sends your blood pressure sky rocketing.
But why do I, perhaps even we, expect to be seamlessly online all of the time?
Is this good for us? Is it healthy to be head down, eyes glued to your screen all of the time? And how about the fact that there is no virtual reality any more? Real life plays out on the internet and it is compulsive viewing.
People expect instant responses to their messages. They can see when you’ve read something. They can see whether you’re online right now. Gone are the days when you could leave an email unanswered for weeks. That little green dot next to your name or the two blue ticks in the corner of that message rat you out as someone who is wilfully ignoring the sender.
And I, for one, could happily live without that kind of pressure.
Travel To Get Off The Grid
So, I will make a commitment to myself, repeating it until it sinks in and I start to believe it. I will refuse to get bothered by my internet connection. If it chooses not to play ball with me I will leave the game and go and find something else to do with my time.
On the road I vow to embrace those no signal days and relish the ability it gives me to completely immerse myself in my surroundings, rather than worry about what photograph I want to upload to Facebook next.
I will use the internet as a way to keep in touch with my loved ones when I am on the other side of the world and be thankful that it allows me to share my passion for writing with them.
If not today, then tomorrow.
How do you feel about this? Is staying connected a big deal for you? Has my idle rant struck a chord or do I need to build a wireless bridge and get over it? Share your thoughts with me!
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