I did this challenge, not by choice, but by necessity. Last long weekend, my parents decided it would be a brilliant idea to pack a tent into the car and drive to beautiful British Columbia to do some quality hiking. On the car, my phone kept lighting up
with text and my thumbs dashed across the screen in reply. At that point, I was simultaneously chatting to nine people.
As we drove past Banff, the five cellular service bars faded to four, then three as we entered B.C. We started on our 18 km hike. As the path started to wind up the mountain, we took a break to refuel on trail mix, cherries, and homemade beef jerky. I couldn't
help it. I dug my phone out of the pack, and gasped in horror. The "Bell 3G" had been replaced by the dreaded "No Service." I hadn't received a text in the past 3 hours!
What was I supposed to do now? Make small talk with...my parents?!
After a few seconds, it hit me. This little white phone had replaced a huge portion of face to face interaction. I hadn't had a proper conversation with my parents in ages. I was living out my life through cyberspace, ignorant of everything right in front
of me. As soon as the meaningless, constant updates from those nine people stopped zipping through cyberspace into the palm of my hand, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off. The voices inside my head telling me what witty reply to send to each of
the nine people died out. I began to hear the rushing of a nearby stream. I gazed up at the majestic mountains, peppered with jade trees. I’d been blindly walking past all this beauty, my mind solely focused on my internet connection.
At that moment, I shut my phone off. I placed it in the bottom of my hiking pack, and didn’t take it out for the next three days. I felt isolated at first, but in the end, I didn’t care. Sure, it was great my best friend ate a really succulent looking steak
on Sunday. It didn’t matter I wasn’t on Instagram to see the photo. I didn’t care about missing 2 hours of my favourite TV shows (okay, didn’t
mind..I may or may not have recorded it).
The internet is amazing. We can now talk with people with the click of a mouse, the tap of a button. However, this experience was a nice reminder people exist outside of their Facebook profiles or cellphone numbers too. Unplugging for a while brought me
back to the real word. To appreciate the wonders of nature, as well as the important people I’d been disregarding.