Travelling Without Connections: Part 3

I have, in fact, spent time away from my computer!

The Attempts

Having talked about the gut-wrenchingly scary moments of lacking an Internet connection, there are some fairly unorthodox ways both Amelia and I would try to get WiFi connections.

  • I stood on top of a bench in the middle of a national park to get a good connection.
  • At my hostel near Yosemite, I sat in a public toilet for an hour because the WiFi connection was the best in that spot.
  • Amelia would hang out in certain shops on Franklin Street (Chapel Hill’s main street) to ensure she stayed connected to UNC’s WiFi.
  • In a hotel I stayed at, I was forced to restart my iPad once an hour since the WiFi connection would short out after a certain period of time and would refuse to let me back on without a restart. Annoyed me to no end but I was too lazy to dig out my laptop from my suitcase.
  • During my stay in Miami, the WiFi suddenly stopped working when I needed to print my bus tickets and I spent a solid hour trying to figure out how to access the tickets on my laptop when I only had the link in my emails. I forgot about the hotspot feature of my phone completely and am embarrassed at how long it took me to remember its existence.

I’ve also revelled in the lack of connection. The four days without a SIM card meant that I controlled communication with my family, and to avoid my mum’s nagging I would just refuse to turn on the WiFi during the times I knew she’d be awake. Being able to shake off my family’s protective blanket and be on my own for the first time in my life granted me an enormous sense of independence and freedom.

From my own experiences and my chats with Amelia, it’s become clear that millennials tend to rely on a WiFi connection a lot, preferring to stay in touch rather than let go of the responsibility to keep in contact with our friends and family back home. Amelia named at least three connective devices that she brought with her – I myself had four. It’s uncommon to leave laptops and tablets behind at home, even for short trips. I consider it a gift that I’m able to stay so close to my family and friends, even though my reliance on this technology has proven to stress me out remarkably during various situations.

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