Why Going Offline is Good For The Soul

12/07/17

Why Going Offline Was Just What I Needed

Location: Cuba
It’s hard to put into words, what visiting Cuba is truly like. You’ve probably heard from so many people, that you can almost liken it to stepping back in time. I do realise the reason for this, but nonetheless it definitely brings a unique charm to this Country. Picturing the Island of Cuba before flying out there with Virgin Holidays, conjured up images of colourful buildings and beautiful vintage cars that line the alleyways. Or at least that is what Instagram had me imagining. But it’s true, that those images truly come to life when you visit Cuba, or at least Havana, and so much more than you probably anticipated.

One of the most beautiful places we were lucky enough to visit was an artistic and agricultural Farm – a short drive from Varadero and in a much less tourist attracted area, therefore providing some tranquility and true Cuban beauty.  We all spent the day on the family run farm, drinking honey from live and unharmful bees nests, watching the Farmer’s Son spin pottery and eating the most delicious farm to table vegan food. But on top of that, we all fully embraced being in a very calming and quiet place for the day.

Despite the beauty that stood before us from the very second that we landed, I do have a confession to make. You all know me well enough now to know that when I am lucky to be invited on these type of trips with brands and companies, that they are first and foremost work trips. These are not jolly holidays to let loose and turn off from the stresses of everyday life. And so that means, that upon landing in Cuba with a diary full of ideas and creativity waiting to be let loose, I was stopped in my tracks when I realised that the world wide web is not as wide as I would have liked.

Suddenly I was faced with the prospect that this working holiday wouldn’t be able to include as many working moments that we had planned – due to the lack of wifi or Internet of any sort. How was I going to get back to all of my emails, keep up with my inbox while I was 5 hours behind UK time or even post my latest Instagram? First world problems, I know – but for someone who works online, I did ponder on this idea. And then.. I did something that 2015 Victoria definitely wouldn’t have done. 2017 Victoria took a deep breath and decided that instead of filling this trip with worries and issues that I had no way around, I was going to embrace every single second of such a beautiful, unique Country: internet access or not.

I cannot quite put into words just how much I LOVED this holiday. Not just because of the wonderful company and the incredible Country itself, but partly because I didn’t have access or need to access the internet every second of the day. I wasn’t checking my phone constantly and phone moments were kept to short bursts. I really recommend having some time away from our online world once in a while. Online channels can be a perfect source of inspiration and entertainment, but they also mean that we don’t live fully in the moment and I finally did whilst in Cuba.

THE PROS & CONS

The Internet is the reason I have a career that I absolutely love, along with so many incredible friendships that I am able to keep up with so easily. However, it’s also the reason that I have access to my social channels 24/7 and find it so hard to turn off sometimes. Yes, half the blame lies with my personality and the fact that I’m a workaholic, but give me access and I will check my blog comments, my YouTube channel and my Twitter feed at ungodly hours of the day, sacrificing sleep along the way. In Cuba, despite such a long flight and the worry of jet lag creeping up to greet me, I actually slept incredibly well and found myself relaxing into the rhythm of the Island and leaving my anxiety about my emails behind. The positive impact it had on my sleep pattern in only a few days just proves how much we need to step away and back into our physical life sometimes.

ADDICTED? ME? NOOO..

I would say there is a strong case for more than a few of us to say that we spend way too much time on our phones and our laptops. It’s ironic to be sat here writing this hidden away in my home office on a beautiful sunny day, but as I progress with my blog so does my understanding of when is the right time to be online. A couple of months ago I took part in the #RedOut campaign in aid of Red Nose Day. Myself and a host of other YouTubers created videos to raise money for the cause and also stayed offline for 24 hours. It wasn’t quite as calming and easy as it sounds. I must have tried to pick my phone up a hundred times that evening before remembering I couldn’t use it, and it only proved to me that I am glued to it far more than I should be. Since then, I have taken to hiding the apps that aren’t necessary for my work life and this has definitely helped with ensuring the time I spend online is at least productive. See you later Facebook! You’ll find a lot of my social media apps hidden away in a folder on the last page of my iPhone to reduce the amount of time spent on them!

LET’S BE REAL

No matter how much someone tells me I should take a week long break and go offline, I just can’t. It’s not how this business works. There’s no holiday pay, sick pay or someone who can step into my shoes for a few days. I work no matter where in the world I am and no matter what day it is, mainly because I love my job and if I don’t do it, it won’t get done. Now let’s be real here, this post isn’t about encouraging you to become a hermit and and live in the Outback for 6 months while in turn letting go of all your electronic possessions (unless of course that’s what you want to do), but I think we should all take a second to identify that there are times during the day that we could be online less. It might seem extreme to plan to be off our phones and laptops, but it’s 2017 and I for one need to be told.

Do you spend too much time online too? Let’s take our evenings back, let’s take our time back and let’s live in those once in a lifetime moments more. Let me know below what you think and if you’re aiming to spend a little more time in the now!

 

And just go here if you’d like to know more about a Virgin Holidays trip to Cuba!

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