On Internet Addiction and Connectivity Bubbles

If there’s one thing that travel has done for me lately, it’s made me recognize and accept how addicted and reliant I am upon my smart phone (in my case, an iPhone).

When you travel (internationally), you have to make a hard choice — do I shell out big $$$ to AT&T to get an international data plan, do I shell out even bigger $$$ to use roaming data, or do I sever the umbilical and disable roaming data. Roll the dice on being able to get wifi. Or worse yet — don’t use the internet at all. Gasp.

Traveling with others, I get this feeling that some people who don’t get an international plan are hopping from connectivity bubble to connectivity bubble, holding their breath in between and hoping they make it to the next one alive. There’s a sense of relief when they can get back online. Check Twitter. Check email. Check in. Check a map. OK, now hold your breath and hope we can find somewhere else with wifi before it’s too late!

I’ve found myself more and more often opting to not get any data access at all, and to actually relish the experience of not having connectivity for the most part. When I was in Chile, it was rough at first, not having access to maps, Google, etc. But I got used to it. It was like taking a step back in time. I talked to people. I used a paper map. It wasn’t so bad. It turns out that not having connectivity to the world wide web forces you to live in… the world right in front of you.

That’s not a bad thing. Try it.