Holidaying on a cruise liner has its advantages, more on that later, however internet access is not one of them.
The cost of accessing the internet and the speed of the connection via satellite, makes using the internet for some, a luxury.
So, I didn’t use the internet on the ship. Nor did I use it on the shore days at the “free” Wi-Fi cafés.
I don’t have an iPhone like my travelling companions and carrying my trusty Kindle Fire was just another thing to worry about, particularly in high pickpocket places. The Kindle Fire is also on the heavy side when carrying all the stuff one needs when out with kids when out for a day. The price of roaming data is still way too high to justify the risk of being connected and overrunning a data cap.
My first thought of not being connected to the internet was that of worrying if “the office” could contact me if I was needed. I’m not sure why this was the case as I’d already put contingency for others to do tasks I’d usually do and I’d re-arranged appointments with prospects for when I got back.
Another concern was, if there was a personal message I needed to attend to in my Hotmail account. In that case, I would just have to wait.
Occasionally I’d hear of news back home through messages one of the others had received via Apple’s iMessage when they connected to free Wi-Fi, but on the whole, I was cut off from the on-line world.
Once I got over the fact that I there wasn’t anything feasible I could do to get connected or do once I was connected, I resigned myself to just enjoying what I was doing at the time. I could for the first time in a long while actually take in the whole experience around me. I had my immediate family with me and we were in some amazing places that we would not see again for some time. Reflecting on this afterwards, I would have been stupid to waste time by being distracted by e-mail and internet. Far better to check out the ancient relics and soak up the history that Europe has to offer than look at a small screen filled with stuff from somewhere else.
Living without Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and alike was actually quite liberating and when you think about it, in terms of history, these are quite recent “must haves” anyway.
One day the price of mobile data for New Zealander’s abroad will reduce and the devices like Google Glass and mobile watches will become commonplace. Call me old fashioned but even then, I’ll resist being connected when away from work.
Holidays are just that, holidays and I recommend completely disconnecting from e-mail and messaging for all or good part of the holiday in order to relax and enjoy the places visited.
I think we all need time away from our electronic “stuff” so that we can focus on the moment we are in and the people we are with, without disruption and distraction.
The only drawback I could find from not having access to e-mail was the huge number of e-mails in my inboxes which I had to deal to when I got connected. The only advantages I could see of all the mobile apps others had was perhaps the maps and transportation services.
Some forward planning, a map and a train timetable are still useful and don’t lose coverage or require batteries.