I USED to travel without any electronic equipment. No phone, no watch, no computer, no nothing.
I once had a small camera… but it was quickly stolen in Laos.
It was extremely liberating. Sure, I missed a lot of buses since I had no concept of time, and my parents didn’t know where I was for weeks on end.
But, I was also completely disconnected from the woes of the outside world, giving me ample opportunity to immerse myself in the world right in front of me.
Oh, how different it is this time around.
Maintaining a travel blog obviously requires smart devices. Although I am satisfied with the work we are doing, and the information we are providing, the fact that we always have at least two or three of these devices on hand bothers me.
I instinctively reach for my phone when we sit down in a cafe, often failing to take in my surroundings because I am too preoccupied by what is going on on the other side of the world (or on the football pitch of my favourite club).
Instead of going outside to see the sunset, I am sitting behind a computer or tablet, typing out some story, finding people to pitch our blog to, or sometimes even just playing games.
I am writing this while in (stationary) transit, so now it’s OK.
But sometimes I feel like I am missing out because the electronic sirens call for me, and, like Odysseus, I am but a slave to their whims.
Of course, my travels are not ruined. I still enjoy every minute, and am happy I can provide useful information and entertainment or inspiration to others.
Just the other day, we got a message on our Facebook from a fan saying our stories make her happy, and help her get through the boring work days. That is definitely worth something.
But sometimes, just sometimes, I want to throw out all our equipment, burn it to a crisp, and be freed from the chains of electronics while travelling.
Sebastiaan is travelling the world with his girlfriend Alex. Follow their travel adventures on their blog Lost with Purpose or Facebook