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All things photography, backpacking, missions, and rants related. 

Internal Thoughts: Unplug a little.

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Sometimes when I travel by myself, I step back, look at myself from a different perspective and in my mind and I see a narcissistic guy sitting on the bus staring at his iPhone. I would like to tell you I am ‘working’ or writing, or getting directions, but there is a chance I am on social media wasting my time. Here are a few reasons why I have learned to ‘unplug’ even when I am traveling.

1. I can witness life at its fullest.
The stage is set, the lights are on, ‘ACTION’ has been yelled. If I was writing a script for the scene I am involved in, would it be worth watching? Would I see the gentlemen across the aisle making faces at a toddler? Maybe, I could watch the group of teenagers bantering back and forth with their music blaring. Hopefully, I wouldn’t miss seeing the man with cowboy boots, shorts, suspenders, and a walkman singing Old McDonald Had A Farm (ok, I didn’t miss that one). What I am saying is; beautiful things are happening all around us in every moment. It is up to us to observe, reflect, and act on these things.

2. Cause I get lonely.
It could be a bad case of FOMO, but sometimes I get lonely when I travel by myself. If I delete or ignore social media apps on my phone, problem solved! I won’t have any issues because I won’t know what is going on. We live in a society that can view the food other people are having for dinner or get a Snapchat from your friends at your niece or nephews birthday party. This can leave people with an absolutely silly psychological disorder that I am sure you can take some drugs for.

3. Helps me connect with people and the culture.
Personal connections change things…there is something about a physical touch, eye contact, kind words, physical pain or a rush of energy surging through your body. Put down your phone for some time and begin to interact with the people around you! It could be scary approaching people but try and start up a conversation.

4. It gives me solitude.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is solitude. Solitude is something that helps me connect with life happening right now. It equips me to reflect on my life, ask questions, or meditate on future plans. In order to get this solitude, I need to be deliberate about turning my phone (and other noise) off.

5. Helps me control my addictions.
I am sure you see this and think, ‘What? No! I am not addicted to my phone. I can put it down anytime I want’! But, admitting your addiction is the first step…right? If you truly aren’t addicted put your phone down for a few days and just wait. See what happens.

6. It helps me stay safe.
I have to admit. In my limited amount of traveling internationally living out of my backpack. (23 countries to date....crazy.) I haven’t felt more danger then when I have been in my hometown. If my phone is in my face, it is keeping me from being on my toes. When I am on a chicken bus in Nicaragua or navigating the busy streets of Rio at night I can walk with confidence. Which, I believe is an important factor when walking around lost. 

This list is only a little glimpse of why it is important to unplug from your phone and really connect with life. Have you ever “unplugged” and forced yourself to not use your phone? What was your experience? Were you successful?