I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but… Svalbard is an interesting place.
It is Friday, on Tuesday we have our exam, and the day after that, I’m turning my nose home to Mr. E. It’s been a good experience, but I am very ready to go back back home. Seven weeks is just a bit too long to be away from everything and everyone. Especially when people are posting pictures of their gorgeous gardens and I have barely seen a green leaf of grass.
But not before I relay to you the story about how we lost internet for nearly a week.
All right, that sounds overly dramatic. We lost the wifi for nearly a week. There was ethernet connection, but in this day and age, so many laptops come without the ethernet plug, and I didn’t bring an adapter, as did very few of the other students.
So for a week, my room was an internet free zone.
In the beginning, I used my mobile data pretty indiscriminately, as I am used to doing. But what I didn’t take into consideration, is that I am a very boring person – I am usually either home or at work, both of which have wifi.
So I have the cheapest data plan possible with the smallest amount of mobile data. It did not take long for me to run out. And of course, being the
frugal cheap person that I am, I did not upgrade my package for this tiny bump in the road when I received the warning that I had used over 80% of my data. Nope. I promptly turned off all mobile data consuming apps and told Mr. E. to contact me via good old fashioned text, no gifs.
And you know what?
It was great.
Since I didn’t have the option to check emails, faff around on twitter or like fellow bloggers’ pictures on instagram, I was left with but one option – to work. I had a 4000+ word literature review due by Sunday which would determine if I got access to the exam or not. We had a lab report that needed writing and results that needed analysing.
Having to put my shoes on and head down to the university centre in order to access internet from the computer lab made me more likely to just sit on my butt and work. I had all the literature on my computer already, thanks to my rather obsessive saving and storing of research articles I find relevant.
True, group work was a little cumbersome, but mostly because silence is encouraged in the computer lab, so whenever we wanted to discuss something, we had to step outside and share stuff back and forth via USB. I’m old enough to be used to that, but the younger student generation who are used to cloud software and sharing? Cumbersome!
Still, we got the work done. High fives were shared around.
But it was also more than that. Without all the distractions and need to check what others were doing, I felt a great sense of relief and freedom.
I don’t consider myself a person who is addicted to social media or glued to my phone, but I was clearly more addicted than I thought, because this enforced internet fast made me realise just how much time I waste scrolling through twitter, or even just checking my mail! It was something I started to stay connected to other bloggers, and I did not truly realise how much time and mental capacity it was eating up from my day!
It also made me realise that I don’t need to do all the things people say bloggers “should”. I never intended this to be a multimillion dollar sidehustle gig anyhow. This is my place to ponder and to keep myself accountable. If it earns me a penny or two, great. But if it doesn’t, I’m not going to get upset or give it up.
So I want to start a little experiment.
For as long as I am aware of it, I want to try to introduce one hour of no internet every day. I should probably write that down in big, bold letters somewhere to help me remember, but for now – the blog will do.
As I rather painstakingly noticed during the past week, no internet also means no entertainment for the most part. No youtube, no podcasts (except those which were already downloaded), no mindless scrolling.
Put simply – no screen time.
Knowing myself, some days will be easier than others. Some days will fly by with friends, in the garden or with a book.
And some days I will feel tired, or behind with work and feel like I am supposed to be connected all the time and try to keep up.
When I first concocted this idea in my internet-less room, I played with the idea that once we have that house in the forest we want, I’ll restrict internet the other way – to only allow myself a certain amount of screen time and internet every day. And then just unplug the whole monster the rest of the time
I am not entirely out of love with that idea. I figure summers will be much easier than winters.
But then I realised that waiting until we have our “dream home” is no excuse not to do something right now, and thus hermit hour was born.
Maybe an hour is not ambitious enough, maybe I should go for more?
Time will tell.
Yesterday, I spent my hermit hour writing and posting a letter to Mr. E. We like to write letters to each other when we are physically apart for longer periods. It has such a different feel to it compared to communicating online. And they last without taking up a lot of space.
Today I thought I would allow myself to read a book, or go for a walk. Spring is finally starting to spring up here, and it is great!
In short, one hour every day where I don’t have to be anything, don’t have to be anywhere, and don’t have to check if someone has asked me a question or requested anything of me.
It seems such a tiny thing. And perhaps that is sign enough that it is necessary.
Do you have a conscious relationship with internet and the screens in your life? I see it written again and again that the most productive people are those who only check their emails a few times a day and leave it off the rest of the time. Does your job allow you to do that?
Have you spent longer stretches of time without that ubiquitous internet? I find that it is very different when it’s in the middle of your daily life – not while camping or on holiday where the normal is suspended anyhow.
How would you deal with no internet? Would you feel freedom or stress?
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