Hi! My name is Anjana and I had the experience of going on the GLA Global Health Initiative to Bali over the summer of 2019. Throughout my trip, I chose to unplug/ disconnect from my electronic device. Through this, I was able to gain a lot of insight on unplugging, so I thought I would share them with you. Enjoy!
#1: Enjoy the moment.
Without your phone in hand and a bunch of notifications to check, you will be able to appreciate your surroundings so much more. When I went on my GLA trip, I chose to not have data or internet access. I simply used my phone for pictures, if that. Doing so helped me create deeper connections with the people around me and also gave me the opportunity to savor the trip to the best of my ability. If you are taking a trip soon, I would highly recommend doing this, but let your family and friends know beforehand so they don’t get worried 🙂
#2: Get to know people better.
Staring at a phone screen is what people are used to doing these days. It’s really sad. But unplugging gives you the chance to get to know people with face to face conversations. In my opinion, If I was sitting in a room with a group of people and none of us had phones, it would be much easier to get to know each other. Specifically in Bali, My fellow GLA friends and I spent a lot of time sharing stories, playing games, and going on food runs. We were also able to have fun doing the simplest things like washing clothes.
#3: Learn about your surroundings firsthand.
During travel, you might feel inclined to use Google Translate or to search stuff you encounter online. Use the unplugging opportunity to learn more about the language and culture of the place you are planning on traveling to firsthand. Try and learn a couple of basic words in the language beforehand. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. While this is definitely a challenge (it was for me, anyway), doing this helped me immerse myself into the surroundings and provided me with a different perspective.
#4: Save money.
From personal experience, international phone plans aren’t cheap. Unplugging could help you save money and you could use it towards spending on your trip. For all the trips I have taken outside of the country, I haven’t had an international plan. Instead my mom told me that I could use the money that would have gone to a phone plan during the trip. I was definitely apprehensive to this idea at first, but I came around. I was able to buy souvenirs, such as t-shirts, magnets, and other reminders of my time abroad. Coming home and showing my family, friends, and teachers what I got made for great conversations.
Contributed by Anjana Narayanan