As I was laying in my swinging hammock last week (just another day of hard work in my Nicaraguan hostel job) I looked out into our garden. It was filled with a mix of travellers from across the globe everywhere from Algeria to Argentina. We had all found ourselves at this particular place in the world at this particular point in time. And yet every one of us, including me, were attached to some kind of personal device eagerly accessing the internet.
Is it because we have this insatiable need to connect and compare to the detriment of our ability to enjoy the present moment? Or is it that we are utilising this amazing resource to investigate and learn about the world around us and its possibilities?
For me, the internet is both a curse and a gift. Through the interent I have used amazing websites to find work, volunteer opportunities and new coachsurfing friends. I have kept in contact with people I have met from all over the world and even been able to meet them again. But…I have to admit I have wasted precious moments in beautiful places watching awful YouTube clips and absent-mindedly checking facebook where the top story of the moment is somebodies chicken dinner.
When I did a volunteer placement in the Peruvian jungle last year we had no internet, no electricity, no phones or laptops. We only had each other. And through this something great happened. We all became so much more creative and inventive and found connections to eachother and our surroundings. We would sit by candlelight and talk about our lives, share stories and in many ways inspire each other. This same thing has happened to me again in other places where the internet is delightfully absent. Maybe if we all had internet access we would have been sitting alone stalking people on facebook or watching cat videos on YouTube.
I think the answer is that it is all a matter of moderation. We need to know when to use and enjoy the world wide web, to use it as a tool to relax and to explore. And also be aware that there is a time to unplug, switch off and look up at what is around us and the very real opportunities we could be missing of human connection.