Digital Detox & Traveling: Is It Possible?

F. Bruna Ferreira

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Digital Detox & Traveling: Is It Possible?

Oh, the ironies of this world! We take photos and make videos to hold onto fleeting moments, but is that what really happens in practice?

Creating gratifying memories is the driving force behind so many decisions we make and traveling is one of them. Where we’ll go, who we’ll visit, the places we’ll see, the food we’ll eat, the locals we’ll meet...these will all be part of our memories. No pressure. In the days where being an influencer is one of Gen Z’s top career choices and where documenting one’s life and surroundings are paramount, it’s safe to say that travel (and life) is enjoyed differently. 

A minute of silence for the death of a world that was not dictated by instagrammability (pretty sure that’s not a word — instagramableness? 🤔) Today we often look for our self-worth in “likes” and “follows” and forget why we’re traveling in the first place. I invite you to repeat with me my new mantra: I make memories for myself, and not for validation on Instagram.

OK, let’s fast forward the rant and get to the praxis. It’s 2019, flying cars and the zombie apocalypse are right around the corner. We’ve all given into social media fads and let’s be real, they’re not going away anytime soon. So instead of fighting against the cause, let’s find ways to make social media and picture-taking into a healthy habit. 

Tips on how to capture your travels and still have space in your memory—and I don’t mean the card:

Take a mental picture before taking one with your phone or camera.

New cities and cultures are interesting and overwhelming. To add to the hecticness, there’s always that pending item on your to-do list: capture every moment. So you find yourself continuously disengaging from the present moment to tend to the task of taking a photo. Take a moment to connect with yourself and your surroundings. Form true associations to sounds, feelings, tastes, and sights to really consolidate your memory of the present.

Friends with camera at the beach

Turn off push notifications, pop-ups and any other forms of alerts.

It’s hard enough to detox as it is, why you would you need that beep, vibration or that blinking window begging you to pay attention. Make this easier on yourself!

Take pictures of things that you think are interesting instead of what you think other people will find interesting.  

Yes, that sounds a bit confusing. But what’s more confusing is posting something for other people’s gratification. Post what inspires you. Don’t let your self-worth be attached to any social media metrics. Bonus & extra cheesy tip: if you post what you love and you let your authentic self show the likes will come flying in.

Friends taking a picture with cacti

Leave your phone in your bag or pocket. 

You’re probably thinking, “Ok, Captain Obvious, I already do that.” Well, next time you’re out, notice people’s hands (not trying to get creepy on you, bear with me). You’ll see that we’ve made it a habit to carry around our cellphones in our hands. Next trip, be more conscious about putting it away in your bag or pocket. You’ll forget that it’s there and won’t feel the same urge to take as many pictures. If you’re a rebel, leave your phone back at your hotel for a few outings.

Funnel your creativity through other means outside of photography. 

Try to unleash the creativity in you through writing or drawing, for example. You might not be the next Maya Angelou nor Picasso but you can surely journal and doodle.

Landscape of sand and vegetation

Go to places where you won’t get service. 

I could simply suggest putting your phone on airplane mode, but I’m with you, it’s too tempting. During your trip, find locations where you’ll be forced to go cold turkey. Having no option can be a good option. 

Post after your trip. 

The social media world will be there when you get back from your trip and it will be easy to make up for the lost time. When you’re back home, a place you know well and have time to kill, post away!

Man on hammock soaking the sun

It’s a tricky balance, my dear friends! But one worthwhile achieving. If you can’t, well... the zombie apocalypse is soon to come anyway 🤷‍♀️

F. Bruna Ferreira
Lisbon, Portugal
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