At twenty-past seven in the evening outside Shinjuku station, Tokyo after I’d finished a shift at the school I was teaching in I had a revelation; I needed to rid myself of addictive technology or I’d go completely mad. The revelation came as a surprise to me as I love technology with a capital L. I was finally living in a country I’d wanted to visit since before my teenage years and I was doing nothing but wasting time on my laptop and checking Facebook on my phone.
I sold my phone almost immediately and told people they could contact me via email if absolutely necessary and starved myself of technology. ItThe experience changed the way I use modern tech forever.
So, this list isn’t necessarily a list of things that will make your travels easier, but one that will make them richer.
Let’s start with the most obvious – a diary. Writing down your thoughts every day has more value than most people realise. A diary will not judge you like ‘friends’ on Facebook – it’s an open forum for you to have a private conversation with yourself. Only you can judge what appears on its pages.
Carrying a diary can help you free yourself from a social media addiction by giving you a space to brain vomit through the best and worst of times. You might even develop a deep relationship with the most important person of all – yourself.
A film camera
I have a digital SLR, but that’s not to say I’m not an advocate of a good film camera – in fact I infinitely prefer them. It’s not about the quality or the convenience, but about the restrictions. This blog is all about being restriction-free, but when you’re working with something like a film camera the importance of getting the right shot the first time around is paramount.
Knowing that you don’t have a screen to review what you’ve just taken means that you’ll take much greater care when taking photos. It will encourage you to be more intimate with your subject and the surroundings and help you develop a sense of perspective, both literally and metaphorically.
Photos of home
These can work in two ways…
a) Remind you of the people who mean the most to you and in turn give you a willpower boost
b) Remind you of what you’ve escaped from
Both of which I think are incredibly useful motivators for winning freedom.
A book about something you’ve always wanted to learn
No matter what anyone tells you, travelling can be a lonely affair even if you’re not travelling alone. When you have your moment of self-realisation you’ll likely realise how isolated you’ve become from ‘the world’, and you’ll grasp at the air to find ways to reconnect.
The trick is that it’s not ‘the world’ you need to reconnect with – it’s yourself. One of the best ways to get to know yourself is to try and learn something new. Pick something that you’ve always wanted to try and is easy to do on the road – whatever the results may be you’ll learn heaps about who you thought you were and have a lot of fun in the process.
A list of jokes in the local language
This has served me well in more instances than I can remember. Making people laugh is just about the perfect way to gain access to any culture if you know the right things to say.
Google a few jokes in the language of the places you’re headed and, when you get the opportunity, read them out to the locals. You might end up making a complete fool of yourself, but either way they’re going to laugh with you or at you.
Do you agree with these? Is there a piece of technology you couldn’t bear to travel without? Whatever your answer let us know in the comments below.