One of the hardest, and BEST, parts about #VanLife was the lack of connectivity. We often joked around about how amazing it must have been to live life on the road in the 70’s, no pressure to post on Instagram, no impulse to check your email, no YouTube videos to upload, no last-minute “Googling” the top 10 things to do in (insert ANY destination here). Life without wifi left room for possibilities; it required us to TRUST OURSELVES more and it allowed our worlds to EXPAND beyond the reach of our forearms.
You don’t have to travel to the ends of the earth to find the sort of freedom and (dis)connection we speak of. Disconnecting can be simple, though we do have to admit, we didn’t realize how addicted we were to our phones and social media until we were forced to go without it all for the greater part of 2 years (last year especially). With that being said, now that we are back in the land of Insta-fame excess, this is how we deal:
Don’t want to post first thing in the morning? Don’t want to post/update social media at all? GOOD. Listen to your spirit and only post when you FEEL INSPIRED to do so. Don’t force it. Life is about being AUTHENTIC. Share what you want when you want to share it, that’s when your voice has the most POWER and that’s how you can use SM to create more JOY and purpose vs. rules and stress in your life.
One way we do this is by allowing ourselves not to post/check emails on weekends (unless we feel truly inspired to do so). Seems counterintuitive for travel bloggers/Instagramers not to capitalize on the larger weekend audience right!? Well, whatevs. It’s just not our style and that’s OK. No one’s gonna forget about us, we’ll still be able to share our story and find success, but it will all happen organically, AND we’ll be able to enjoy our weekends without having to worry about “daily homework assignments.” Experiment with finding your style, and once you’ve got it, honor it.
We even practiced this while living in the van, which was a bit harder seeing that the bedroom was also the living room, the office, the yoga studio and the dining room + it was hard to resist the strong and rare wifi connection because we never knew how long it would last or when we would find it again. But like anything, it all starts with practice, and as time went on it became easier and easier to find rest in our present moments without being swept away by the riptide of wifi.
A bed is a sacred place of restoration. “But I need my phone nearby, it’s my alarm clock,” you say. Well it’s mine too, but mine’s plugged in on the other side of the room chillin’ on the floor so I have to get up out of bed and walk over to it when the alarm goes off. Added benefit: We hit “Snooze” less.
It’s important to end and begin your day without technology. Respect and believe in that fact, better yet, try it out and see for yourself. Read a few pages of your favorite book before bed, write a few journal pages and ease yourself into your day with a restorative stretch like child’s pose each morning. Overtime you’ll begin to feel more centered and eventually you’ll value time spent without your phone even more than your time spent with. GASP
#4. Develop a CONSCIOUS AWARENESS around when it’s time to PUT THE PHONE DOWN.
I find myself having to remind Drew of this now and again, but truthfully, he has to remind me too. It’s hard in this day and age to stop doing when it’s just so easy to keep doing! Some important moments that stand out include while watching a movie, while waiting in line ANYWHERE and road trips, which is especially hard, but no one wants to to travel with a passenger who’s checked out the whole time! Be where you are with whoever you’re with, that’s how you MAKE MOMENTS, vs. missing out on them. Start to view something as simple as waiting in line at Trader Joe’s as an opportunity to connect with the unique mixture of people and experiences going on around you. When your eyes are stuck on your screen you’re basically a zombie, numb to any sort of blessings or lessons your present moments are trying to gift you.
Your ability to practice this one will depend on your job/circumstance, but as often as you can, try allowing for some space between you and your device. You are not your phone and it’s OK if you aren’t always immediately available/responsive. In fact, it’s healthy and good for your soul.
We take so many digital #photos these days, we literally took over 35k last year 😳 This year were going to make it a point to capture #extraspecial moments in this way… with a #Polaroid. Because somethings are even better when you can hold them in the #palmofyourhand. 🌼 #nappingwithdaisies #shakeitlikeapolaroidpicture #amsterdamsebos #iAMsterdam #thisisholland #myinstax #mondaycouple
This tip was inspired by the idea of being where you are. If you set aside the time to hangout with your friend/do something good for yourself, it’s important to CHERISH that time and be where you are. Keep your phone on silent so your experience can go where it needs to. If someone calls/texts, find comfort in the fact that you’ll be able to get back to them soon enough.
Read a book with REAL pages, send a friend a sweet note on REAL paper, reflect on your REAL thoughts and write them down… bring some substance to your life. Glow from the light within vs. glowing from the light behind your screen.
This goes along with finding your own rhythm and choosing not to begin and end your day with technology. I try not to keep my phone near me when I’m writing (makes it hard for me to focus) and Drew rarely keeps tabs on his phone on Sundays. We treat checking our email/social media updates as an event, rather than an integral part of our day that requires as much consistency as our own breath. This allows us to stay in control of our time, while also maintaining a “normal” relationship with our phones.
#8. Spend time in nature and seek places where the wifi is not.
When you find the time to be in that place, leave your phone behind. “But my phone is my camera…” And? You don’t need to capture/remember/have proof of everything. Life was meant to be lived with our minds, spirits and bodies. Choose to FEEL WHERE YOU ARE, this will benefit your life in unseen ways. Release the impulse to capture and pose. Let your moments unfold and let nothing stand in the way. Remember the simple goodness that life is meant to be.
Closing my eyes and wiggling my toes, getting to know the feelings, smells and sounds of beautiful #Vienna ❤️ #May has always been my favorite month to #travel, the sun comes out to play and we have another month before the chickletts and loads of tourists take over, then it's off to the countryside we go! #vanlifeEurope #herecomesthesun #thisisVienna #austria #MuseumsQuartier #wien #traveltuesday #mrandmrsadventure
Sundays are a great day to practice this, but really any day when you can turn your phone off, even if only for an hour, is a great day.
As the use of technology and social media only continues to grow, it’s important for us all to keep things in perspective and remember to value what’s really REAL in life. #LifeOutsideTheInbox is possible, and man is it worth it. Comment below and tell us your thoughts about how you find balance with social media and technology: