disconnect to reconnect

Disconnect to reconnect – the importance of switching off and going ‘dark!’

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Disconnect to reconnect – the importance of  switching off and going ‘dark!’

I am a Scotsman. Born and brought up on the outskirts of Glasgow in 1970. I caught the travel bug early on in life – traveling to California as a twelve year-old (to visit family), and then hitch-hiking around the Scottish Highlands with a rucksack and tent on my back from the age of 14. I first hit the road ‘proper’ on my own when I was 17 years-old back in 1987. I was headed for Jersey in the Channel Islands: a small group of islands located in the English Channel near France. Back then life was less complicated – every week I’d ‘clock in’ with my parents via a short, expensive phone call, to reassure them that I was still alive and that all was well (even if it wasn’t); occasionally, I’d pop a letter in the post to a friend with details of my exploits and adventures, but – on the whole, connectivity from afar in those days was limited.

Since my Jersey days, I have had the good fortune to have lived and worked overseas (on and off) for extended periods of time. I have made many friends throughout my travels – some, I have managed to stay in contact with over the years, and others – unfortunately, I have not. There is no doubt, with the advancement of technology, that staying in touch with people has become much easier over the years. Technology – in general, has made life easier for most of us; I love the fact that we can do all manner of things from our smartphones and laptops, but an unintended side-effect of this technological revolution is that although we may be more connected with people through social media and the internet, physical interaction has decreased for most of us as technology has advanced.

In many ways, the more connected we have become online has resulted in us being increasingly disconnected offline. The evidence of this is all around us – a casual conversation at the bus stop between two strangers, for instance,  isn’t always the easiest thing to initiate if the other person has their head buried in their smartphone. In the past, especially when traveling (in my experience), physical, human interaction was vibrant and healthy. Awkward silences existed in certain situations between strangers, but usually enough social skills had been acquired by both parties to overcome these moments and a conversation of sorts would ensue.

Now awkward silences can be avoided entirely by whipping out your smartphone and immersing yourself in facebook or some other internet/phone related activity. Avoiding physical, social interactions with diversions and distractions such as smartphones and other devices, especially for young people, isn’t the best formula for developing social skills. Oftentimes, the more connected you are online, the more isolated you become offline.

I am not anti-technology, or some old, aging ‘technophobe’, far from it – I embrace technology, and am an advocate of online business, in particular, but I also believe in the importance of establishing ‘balance’ in life, and know that too much of anything is never a good idea.

As a travel blogger/writer, I spend a lot of time on my phone/laptop/internet. In fact, like many people today, I probably spend too much time online, which is why I regularly disconnect from the internet to reconnect with reality. I especially like to do so when traveling.

On a recent trip to Thailand I went dark for 5 days. I am married to a Thai national and have two Scottish/Thai children: a girl (16), and a boy (12); after spending 11 tranquil days in my wife’s parents village in Buriram, northeastern Thailand we headed for Koh Samui in the south of the country.

Shortly after arriving on Koh Samui I switched off all my devices, and kept them switched off for the duration of our time on Samui. My wife and children followed suit. The internet-free days that followed were productive, fun-filled days that strengthened the bond between myself, my wife, and my kids. Communication resumed to healthy levels within a day, and with no distractions such as social media to contend with, we were able to appreciate Samui for the beautiful location that it is.

My advice to you – if you are anything like me, is to disconnect from the internet (if only for a while) to reconnect with the important things that matter in life.

Disconnect to reconnect – the importance of  switching off and going ‘dark!’

‘Have you ever thought about starting up your own blog? see my blog post here


Only Raising Dust On The Road
The first Part of my book/novel (novella – approx. 25,000 words in Part 1) is available for download at Amazon in Kindle format.

only raising dust on the road, part 1 - buckfast, lager & Fags
only raising dust on the road, part 1 – buckfast, lager & Fags

Only Raising Dust On The Road
By Raymond Carroll
A novel set in Thailand

Part 1 – ‘Buckfast, Lager, & Fags’

‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a novel set in Thailand. The book has been serialised into 4 novella length books.

Part 1 – Buckfast, Lager & Fags (approx. 26,000 words), follows a group of friends from around the globe as they embark on a money-making enterprise to Thailand.

Micky, is a heavy-drinking, drug-using Scotsman who has been hired by his friend ‘Slim’ to manage a bar on a tropical island on Thailand’s eastern gulf coast. Slim’s business partners: Sanjit – a South African-born Indian, and Connie – a white, Afrikaner Durbanite and Sanjit’s girlfriend, have recruited Winston (Sanjit’s South African Indian – ‘hood-rat’ – cousin) to be bartender. Can the mismatched motley-crew make this venture work? Nothing in Thailand is ever as it seems and dangers abound along the way.

The story is told from a multiple character first person point of view and takes place in the late 1990’s.

‘Only Raising Dust On The Road’ is a work of fiction.

Lots of profanity throughout. 18+

Part 2 – ‘Same-Same But Different’ on sale at Amazon

Buy Part 1 of Only Raising Dust On The Road on Kindle and paperback at Amazon

‘In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.’

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Copyright © 2017 Raymond Carroll

38 thoughts on “Disconnect to reconnect – the importance of switching off and going ‘dark!’”

  1. I wish the Thai girls would learn to live without their phones too, or at least limit the amount of time they spend on them. Nowadays they are given them as babies to keep them occupied and are addicted for the rest of their lives!

  2. I love disconnecting! Everytime I travel I try to get off of all social media so I can take in the world around me. I think it’s very important nowadays to take some time off from social media

  3. I do that..sometimes I switch off my mobile . And I hardly work while traveling. I can totally understand what you are saying out there. It’s required at times

  4. I love to disconnect though sometimes it is so hard to do. Generally it only happens when I go to a place with no wifi and so I have no choice!! I do enjoy these times, though as I have a travel blog too, I do find I have to spend a lot of time on the internet!!

    1. Yes, Clare, it’s not easy doing without the internet in this day and age. I’m off to Nepal in October and the internet isn’t the best over there, especially when you’re in the heart of the mountains. I always make a point of going ‘dark’ when in Nepal though, a week or so at least. Good for the spirit!

  5. Great points raised and I think that the more advanced the phones get the harder it is to switch off, which is sad as those who just can’t switch off miss so much of real life. Great article 🙂

  6. Good read you’re so right it’s important to switch off now and again. When we visited China we actually loved the fact everything was blocked and ended up turning off our mobiles, which was really refreshing.

  7. I make it point to switch off. I find I need a break from it all, but especially when I’m vacation. I want to enjoy where I’m at and what I’m seeing and reconnect with my spouse. When I’m hiking I don’t have a connection most times so I enjoy it!

    1. Hi Lisa, totally agree – one of my favourite places to go ‘dark’ is when I am trekking in Nepal. Signals come and go when you are in the mountains of Nepal and oftentimes they are weak and not that reliable. I usually switch off entirely when in Nepal, sometimes for a week or more. Thanks for commenting!

  8. This is a great point. I have to admit I am addicted to my phone but sometimes getting away from everything is very refreshing. We recently went to Thailand and Cambodia and I managed to switch off for a few days.

  9. I think you are right in a sense – going “dark” does allow you to enjoy places in a different way, without technology getting in the way. Putting down a camera and just enjoying the view is a great way of taking in what’s before your eyes. So is putting the phone down and interacting with people. However it’s becoming more and more difficult as technology is enveloping our lives and integrating itself within. I think it’s about finding a right balance and knowing when to minimise the use of technology. Thanks for sharing

  10. I totally agree…technology makes us feel disconnected so many times. Ankur and I try to use the no phone principle when are on vacation… does wonders to our relationship. I am sure kids also discover so much more without having the iPad!

  11. What great advice! I totally understand your sentiment – it has become more and more difficult to connect with people offline. I find it so awkward to reach out to people, because so many times people are just hooked to their smartphones (especially when they are alone). I love how you and your family all switched off from tech and were able to have such a productive and meaningful holiday!

  12. Great move and one that we all should follow. One little thing I do when I leave the house is that I don’t have internet on my phone or other devices which mean even if I have to use it, I need to use the free wifi which as it is limits my use. I do understand the need to completely go dark as you said, and it’s a bold move. I shall try it although maybe start with a couple days first.

    1. Yes, this is a new age and we are all so reliant on our devices (dare I say it – addicted!) If disconnecting don’t go cold turkey – slip from the shackles gradually and enjoy the people and world around you! Thanks for commenting! Good luck and safe travels!

  13. Its the hard fact of life that people are moving to social relationships rather than building relationships and meeting physically…people may know someone across the borders but not the one in their neighborhood…it’s really imp. to make a balance

  14. I agree with you 1000%. We love disconnecting when we cruise, road trip, hike, go out to dinner, etc. Although we are millenials, we appreciate the value in human connection and technological disconnection. Great, inspirational post. 🙂

  15. Very great tip to disconnect to reconnect. I feel we do not realize how connected we are until we turn everything off and the world feels like a better place. Connecting with family and friends with conversation is so important. Do not get me wrong, I feel its also important to reconnect 🙂

  16. Great topic Raymond. Even though I was born a full decade after you, I do get teased every now and again that I have an ‘ancient’ attitude towards technology. Sure I take advantage of the internet to run my business and blog but I refused to spend by life shackled to my phone. Its great what a few days without checking emails can do.

  17. It’s so important to disconnect when you’re traveling! While it’s important to keep in touch with loved ones at home and to research things for your travels, if you’re plugged in too much you might be missing out on what’s going on around you. I agree, technology has done so much to revolutionize travel but we must stop ourselves from being so engrossed in it, to the detriment of offscreen living.

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