It all started by accident. My partner and I had booked a holiday to one of the Dodecanese islands, a beautiful paradise that we could scarcely believe we could afford: sunshine, sand and seafood and all in the middle of October!
Once we landed, headed to the coast, got the boat across to the island where we were staying and got a taxi to the tiny village where our apartment was it became abundantly clear that the absence of wifi, and even phone signal, was a reality I was going to have to face.
Despite the thirty degree heat, the groves of fruit trees and the sound of gentle waves (yes, it was a struggle) for the first two days a strong sense of ‘digital anxiety’ was ever present. What was happening in the news? Who had been emailing me? What were my friends up to? These questions, once mere seconds away, had been cast into the abyss. How could I possibly relax?
Then, of course, the holiday worked its magic. I slowly let go of any cares I had about, well, pretty much anything, and spent 9 days in non-digital bliss. It was surprising how good it felt. Being completely absorbed by what was happening around me made the break so much more enjoyable and as a result when we came home afterwards I felt re-energised, refreshed, and much happier. For the first time in a long time, I had had a holiday that did what it was supposed to do.
As someone whose work is based largely in the digital world, as well as all the inevitable use outside of work, getting away from the screen for extended periods of time can be a rarity, but based on this experience, an absolute necessity.