I couldn’t think of a great – or even good – title for this blog please… Suggestions welcome! Anyway…
Last year was the first holiday I went on without my family. My then best friend and I went to Barcelona and let me tell you it was A.MAY.ZING. We were only there for one evening and three full days, which definitely didn’t feel long enough, but we got a fair amount of sightseeing done. However, despite being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, my friend had one huge problem.
She couldn’t stay off her phone.
I’m not going to be all righteous and say that I never went on my phone while we were there because I did. Every night when we got back to the hotel, I Skyped my family to let them know what we had done that day and what we were planning to do the following day. After all, it was the first time away from my incredibly close-knit family and they needed to know that I was doing well.
But ultimately I think there is something different between going on your phone when having a little siesta in your hotel before heading out for the evening and going on your phone after trekking for hours to get to the breath-taking Park Guell.
We had taken the scenic route past La Sagrada Familia on a three hour hike to Park Guell in the scorching sun. After we had wandered around the park and we found a bench to catch our breath and take some time to cool down when she pulled out her phone and discovered that the park has free Wi-Fi. Of course, she connected to it immediately and spent the next probably thirty minutes speaking to her boyfriend. I was a little frustrated as it was very much a case of only continuing with our day when she had finished using the Wi-Fi as opposed to cracking on in order to see more sights during our short stay in such a big city.
However, I decided not to let it bother me as we were only in Barcelona for a short time and I didn’t feel as though half an hour was such a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
The following day, we decided to get a bus tour (well, three bus tours) around Barcelona.
There were so many great sites and unique buildings to see that I was utterly astounded to turn around and find her on her phone. Why? The bus had free Wi-Fi.
The following day we went to the beach late in the afternoon for a period of relaxation. She had been adamant on going to the beach to relax (I had seen an aquarium that looked quite cool) so yet again, you can imagine my surprise when I lift my head to find her on her phone, once more.
None of these incidences affected me personally other than possibly the Park Guell one, where we couldn’t continue with our day due to her having a conversation. The thing that I found most frustrating was the fact that we had plenty of time during the evenings to speak to people back home, and there is only an hours time difference between Barcelona and London so it’s not like she could only speak to her family/boyfriend during certain time periods throughout the day.
I will admit that I had never had a boyfriend at that point in my life so I couldn’t put myself in her shoes but I do have one now and I genuinely think that if I were in a picturesque city such as Barcelona, I would leave my phone for the day and focus on what is going on around me while I am in the beautiful weather. Why else go on holiday? For me, the main purpose of a holiday is to escape what is going on in my regular day-to-day life and I find that I can’t do that if I constantly have my head in my phone.
I won’t deny that there are some circumstances when Wi-Fi can be useful on holiday; as I mentioned in my 9 Things I Love, July 2014 post, my boyfriend and I did go specifically looking for warm places (with Wi-Fi of course) when we were in New York earlier this year. However, the primary difference between America this year and Barcelona last year is that when we were in America, the temperatures were around -10C so we spent our time looking for somewhere off the streets where we could warm ourselves up; it was more important to warm ourselves up than it was for us to have Wi-Fi.
We stayed in the warmth for as long as it took for us to warm up adequately, generally using the Wi-Fi to help locate ourselves in relation to the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, or the Lego Shop (BIG disappointment, and I don’t even like Lego!). And another thing: while we were in the American Museum of Natural History, we were in the American Museum of Natural History and not in the world on our phone. We were both completely content with being with one another in this city and only used the Wi-Fi when necessary and when we were presented with the perfect opportunity, as opposed to making opportunities as my friend did in Barcelona. Not only that, it isn’t cheap to go to New York so we were both determined to get our money’s worth out of the holiday.
Obviously now that it is getting to the middle of July, a lot of people have gone, are going on or are already on holiday and it is down to one of my friends that I wrote this post. She has gone to Turkey with her boyfriend for 10 days. I have never been to Turkey before but I know a few people who have all said that it is a beautiful place. So this begs the question: why upload a picture of your outfit choice to instagram every night? While waiting for a meal to arrive, why sit on your phone instead of talking to one another just because you have Wi-Fi at that particular restaurant?
Maybe it is because I’m not much of a Facebook person and the last time I updated my status was November 2013, I don’t know. But the way I see it, going on holiday is a chance to get away from work and life… Why spoil that by uploading pictures or updating statuses at every chance you get? What is the purpose of spending hundreds of pounds to have your body go somewhere while your mind remains in your phone back at home? If anyone knows, please let me know.
But for now, whenever I next go on holiday I can assure you that I will not be uploading any pictures, updating any statuses or even checking any newsfeeds until my feet are firmly planted back on English soil.