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Writing from the pool

Back online after a 48 hour technology detox, and what a way to write my first post!


Hah, I’ve always wanted to blog from the poolside, but Dad left Abu Dhabi the year before I started my first blog, and until now I’ve usually had clunky laptops with zero battery life so it’s not really been possible.

The pool is rippled because April-May is shamaal (desert wind) season over here. Which is actually rather nice, because it means we can lie in the sun for far longer than normal as the breeze makes it not just bearable, but pleasant to sit in 35-40 degree heat in between dips in the pool.

I’ll write more about the trip when I’m home and have been through the insane number of photos I’ve taken, but it is amazing to be back in the Gulf. And especially as an adult, when I can appreciate the scale of the building work, the luxury of the hotels and the complete insanity of the driving. Taxis all the way – I have no desire to take my life in my hands by trying to drive here.

Though I have been working a bit while I’ve been out here, I disappeared off-grid for 48 hours, abandoning all my own technology except my camera and Kindle, and it was gorgeous. I hopped back onto Gmail only long enough to send the cattery where Luna and Clover are alternative contact details. And while I missed being able to post photos, I loved the freedom so much I’m leaving my phone behind every day and just checking it at night.

On logging back into this, to pick up all my emails, I was conscious of anxiety creeping in and having to DO ALL THE THINGS. Whereas actually there was very little that needed actioning, and nothing at all super-urgent. One to ponder on – I reckon I need to do less and chill more.

Currently Dad is sprawled in the sunshine, Mum’s reading in the spa and I am about to finish this post, finish this cocktail and jump in the pool to cool down. And dye all the towels blue in the process, gigglesnort. My hair has reacted amazingly well to the sun though 🙂

On leaving technology behind for a while

Following on from my single-tasking experiment (which is rapidly becoming a habit), I’ve also been thinking and talking about going off-grid for a bit. Just for 24 or 48 hours at a time to start with.

Imagine. No phone, no laptop, no tablet/Kindle/internet.

No screens (except possibly the one on my camera).

No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… Pinterest is a particular offender at the moment, because I can spend three hours pinning things in front of a screen and then feel like I’ve been creative without actually having exercised a single creative muscle.

I love them all – but talking to the lovely Sarah, Lisa, Nina and Louise last week, I realised that I’ve not been without my mobile since I got it at the age of 14. That’s HALF MY LIFE.

I’ll happily admit that one of the reasons I love living alone so much is modern technology – on the rare occasions I’d prefer company and haven’t already organised it, I can communicate with someone in moments. But as a result I barely know my neighbours, and make less effort to see my local friends than I would otherwise. (We all acknowledge this – but don’t often do anything about it.)

I’m also conscious that I couldn’t have the lifestyle I do, or run the businesses I do, if the internet didn’t exist. And I don’t want it to un-exist. It’s a massive resource, a valuable tool and an altogether incredible concept.

And it would be daft to pretend that I don’t invite much of this contact in – I’m well aware that I make a lot of effort to contact and stay in touch with people using all sorts of social media because it’s convenient.

But I wonder how much more I could have achieved if Facebook didn’t exist, if I didn’t spend hours scrolling through Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, liking photos on Instagram. What if I was out there capturing even more of my own images, getting lost without the assistance of Google maps? Having coffee with people instead of chucking a vague Facebook message their way?

And then I saw this, and it cemented my intentions.

I’m not going to give it up entirely. But I am going to have 48 hours off grid while I’m away, and then try and work up to having a day a week free from screens, the internet and the pervasive nature of social media.

Of course, there’s a possibility I’ll hate it, and like all habits, it’ll be hard to break. But I suspect my life, this blog, and my relationships will be all the richer for it.

Have you ever been off-grid? Or restricted your use of screens, social media, phones for a while?