My new year began over at Great Barrier Island (New Zealand) - two fabulous weeks of getting-away-from-it-all on our boat!
However, one thing that was totally missing from my vacation that I hadn't bargained for was not having any communication whatsoever with the outside world. The Telecom tower at Great Barrier Island hasn't been maintained by Telecom at all, leaving me completely without access to my mobile phone for the entire time we were away.
At first, I thought there was something wrong with my phone. Then we realised my partner's phone wasn't working either. My next thought was how was I going to cope without texting my friends? Of course I had to deal with it, because I didn't have a choice in the matter.
I was unable to send or receive phone calls and texts, I had no access to Facebook or Twitter, and of course, no internet either. I couldn't check my work or personal emails, browse for information on Google or search for things to do at the Barrier, and my parents couldn't go online to see where we had anchored for the night.
When the clock struck midnight at New Years I received no messages from friends or family, and I was unable to send congratulatory wishes to a number of friends celebrating their birthdays and even a wedding anniversary.
Initially, I found myself automatically reaching for my phone and felt somewhat disorientated, but after a few days and once the initial shock had worn off, my obsession with my phone began to fade and I started to enjoy my new-found, quiet 'freedom'.
Fishing, eating, sleeping, swimming, drinking, kayaking, dancing, walking, listening to music, reading and snorkelling all happened blissfully without any interruption at all! It was illuminating! My impromptu 'holiday' from my mobile phone showed me that (despite its obvious advantages), how much it dominates my life. I was less distracted and more connected with where I was and what was going on around me, making my holiday far more relaxing and probably more enjoyable. Of course, my friends and family were all still there when I got home and I had more to share with them, because I hadn't been able to update them via text or Facebook!
It might not have been my choice to be without my mobile phone, but the next time you go away somewhere on holiday, I strongly suggest you give it a try! :o)