Digital Detox

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Just go offline

My name is Vanessa and I have been a member of the FreewayCamper family for a few months now. As part of my master's thesis, I have been working on the topic of Digital Detox for a very long time, but I have also had a lot of contact with it in my private life so far. That's why I'm trying to bring you a little bit closer to the topic within this blog post and take you with me on a personal Digital Detox camping trip.

What is Digital Detox anyway?
Digital Detox

So that you can really get involved in this journey, first of all a brief explanation of the Digital Detox concept. In today's society, people like to throw around big terms and a new trend has already emerged. Digital Detox is basically self-explanatory and depends on your personal interpretation. In principle, there are many different forms of detox, but digital detox describes a withdrawal of digital media. In which context or to what extent this takes place depends entirely on you.

Digital detox vs. technological progress?

I'm well aware of the irony behind this. I sit at my laptop and write digital words that are published digitally for you to consume, again digitally. That's quite a lot of "digital" for an article about giving up technology. However, digital detox doesn't mean hating technology in general, it means we should just give ourselves a break sometimes. Technology is cool, no question, but do we really need to stare at our smartphone every free second? Maybe we should start to also consider possible (non-technical) alternatives from time to time.

Digital Detox Camping Trip in Namibia

One of these alternatives to my otherwise quite tech-connected life was a 3-week trip in Namibia. Generally, when I arrive in a new country, I always think about whether it is absolutely necessary to buy a local SIM card or if I can just handle it without being online all the time. Of course, the personal need for security plays a big role, but I personally always truly enjoy this little time out. So it happened that the two of us, without a new SIM card and without a certain plan, met at the airport in Windhoek, grabbed a 4x4 camper with a roof tent and then just packed away the smartphones for 3 weeks and were offline.

Digital Detox Camping Trip Namibia

I find navigation to be a particularly interesting topic. How often do you use a navigation app on your phone? For most people, I think it's part of everyday life and managing without it is a bit of a challenge at first. But it's an incredibly great feeling to have to rely completely on your own instincts and this one paper map. At the end of the trip, we had a completely torn and painted map lying in front of us, but the sight of it just put a satisfied and happy smile on our faces.

Digital Detox Camping Trip Namibia

Many people use their smartphone not only for navigation or communication, but also as a clock or alarm. Our everyday life is constantly defined by certain times, but how would it be to simply do without all that for a bit? This concept of "time" then simply loses relevance because it doesn't matter where you are at what time. In Namibia, we lived from sunrise to sunset, so to speak. We always spent the night somewhere in the middle of nowhere, climbed out of that rooftop tent into the cold early in the morning, and welcomed the day with a warm cup of rooibos tea with the first rays of sun on our faces, completely without a clock or alarm.

Digital Detox Camping Trip Namibia

Not only does the focus change with regard to time, but also with regard to many other things. Attention that was previously given to the smartphone can now be directed to completely different things. This can lead to more intensive conversations with fellow travelers or even create time for activities that are otherwise always somewhat lost in everyday life. An important factor in camping for me is always to enjoy the simplicity of life. And in my opinion, that works even better when there's no flash of a WhatsApp message interfering. For example, I associate unforgettable memories with this trip. When I close my eyes, I think of us sitting warmly wrapped up with a cup of tea under the most beautiful starry sky of my life, having exciting conversations. I think of lying in a hammock reading a book in the middle of a landscape that almost seems like another planet. Or simply getting to know a completely new country with all its facets and being fully present in the moment. There just wouldn't have been room for Netflix, smartphone or any digital conversations with other people.

My personal tips for you
Digital Detox Camping

I'm not a digital detox guru, but I just like to deal with this topic and gonna leave you a few tips here:

  • Digital Detox when traveling: it doesn't have to be the extreme version, but it can also be liberating to simply not log into every available WLAN network or to just delete certain apps for a while. Or you can consciously put your cell phone aside for a day or evening and concentrate completely on the moment. Especially when camping, there are often so many views that are much more worth seeing than the usual smartphone. I also really recommend giving the old paper map a chance or browsing through travel guides instead of reading everything immediately on the Internet.
  • Digital Detox in everyday life: even small things can be helpful, such as no longer using a smartphone directly before going to sleep or after getting up. Or you can try out certain apps to track your own consumption and deal with it more consciously. For example, I set aside (sometimes more, sometimes less regularly) certain cell phone-free days and then use them for things that otherwise come up short.

Now it's your turn. With the New Year coming up and the New Year's resolutions on the horizon, here's a little Digital Detox Challenge from me for you: Grab a camper, go offline and enjoy the time off to the fullest!

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