If you’re on your phone 24/7, this column is for you. – By Oli Munnik
When last did you genuinely disconnect from social media?
That was a question I asked myself three weeks ago sitting at Cape Town International Airport ahead of a three-week trip to Italy which included what would be an unforgettable ten-day honeymoon on the Cinque Terre and surrounds.
After a few minutes of venturing back in time, to past holidays and periods of time-off, I came to the realisation that I hadn’t gone more than a few days at the most – like 2 or 3 – in over 10 years without getting a fix of what’s going on in ‘my world’. E-mail was slightly better, with 5 days being the longest break.
That freaked me out.
In the sphere of cycling – to which I am inextricably linked – the first half of the year is always flat out. From working events to making deadline at Bicycling magazine each month I find myself twisting the throttle wide open, and then having to literally ‘re-grip’ the throttle when planning and executing the next job.
While it’s awesome to love what you do and do what you love, we all need to take a step back sometimes to get perspective. And sitting on that seat among the throng of passengers awaiting flight EK771, I made a resolution to resist the urge of connecting during our time in Italy. It would be my first ever ‘connectivity detox’.
It may sound simple, but let me challenge you to give it a go – set yourself the task of taking at least a few days off your phone, especially social media (ideally during your holiday so that don’t get fired for not returning urgent e-mails!).
I promise you, you will realise how intuitive it has become to reach for your phone at every possible moment – whether it’s to reply instantly to a message (sometimes even during a meal) or to check the ’gram, the simple fact of the matter is that being connected is the new drug-of-choice for the world. And for the most part, we aren’t always consciously aware that we’re hooked.
Being connected has become the norm.
My personal challenge was rewarded almost instantly, when, in the heart of the Italian Dolomites I was totally immersed in the moment while summiting the gruelling Passo Giau and Passo Falzarego with my good friend Zee. While I still snapped a few images of the radness, there was a genuine sense of freedom of not posting – something that has become part and parcel of ordinary life for most of us, especially those in the media.
The rest of the holiday unfolded without a single trip (or escape) to the ’gram, FB or Twitter. I literally disappeared from the Internet. At first you worry, but after a few days it feels awesome and slightly rebellious to be off-line. Freedom.
As the saying goes, all good things eventually come to an end. Today I’m going to open my browser and visit Facebook while also opening up Instagram on my phone. While the time-off has been invaluable, the engine is primed to kick-start back into action. My hand is ready to grip the throttle.
Vroom Vroom … the time has come to blast into the second half of 2017.
Ciao ciao, Oli
Oliver Munnik is a former professional mountain biker. Pinner by trade, he travels the world testing the latest and greatest cycling products as Bicycling’s Gear Editor.