Disconnect to Reconnect: A Digital Detox Guide

by Katrina Wise on March 17, 2019


Picture this: you’re at the airport, waiting to board a plane to your next adventure. You look around and notice… everyone is on their phone. They are wired into headsets, scrolling through endlessly, taking travel selfies, or responding to emails. To think, the whole purpose of traveling used to be synonymous with being disconnected; nowadays you can be on the cloud while flying through the clouds.

Don’t worry. I am guilty of this digital addiction. More recently, I noticed my time and attention was going towards social media platforms (mostly Instagram). At the beginning of February, I decided to delete the Instagram app from my phone so I could pursue better habits for myself. I’ve even gone on a few trips without broadcasting it. I’d love to share how to cope with no social media, especially while traveling.

Delete ‘endless-scroll’ social media apps off your phone

It might sound a bit ‘cold turkey’, but after deleting Instagram, you may find yourself spending more time on another platform such as Facebook, or Snapchat, or Reddit, replacing one vice for the other. Turn off work notifications after hours or while on vacation. You might be tempted to read work email to pass time.

Only keep the apps that will motivate you to get out of scroll-mode and do something productive with your time. Doing this will help you create a habit of disconnection.

Stay in touch

While social media platforms are great for staying connected, you lose the personal touch of friendship. The reward of sending a personal note to a friend is much greater than mysteriously lurking their day-to-day. When you start to feel the anxiety of missing out, reach out to your friends:

  • Give them a call to catch up
  • Coordinate a date or trip to see each other
  • Swap photos of your adventures (ideally after the fact, so you aren’t spending time on your phone while out doing something fun)

Find your method to reduce boredom

While traveling to and fro…

You’re more likely to go on social media when you have nothing to do, especially when you are waiting between flights, sailing on a boat, or riding a train. Here’s a few methods to pass the time:

  • Read a book
  • Bring a journal and write about your experiences
  • Phone a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  • Strike up a conversation with a stranger

While at home or at your destination…

  • If the weather permits, get outside
  • If it’s raining, sign up for an exercise class such as spin, barre, or yoga
  • Practice meditation
  • Learn a new trade such as cooking, gardening, kickboxing, surfing, or rock-climbing etc.
  • Make plans. Whether it’s a trip or weekly meals, planning can take up time and motivate you
  • Connect with local community through Adventure Aide

Giving up social media doesn’t have to be an anti-social movement. There are many ways to stay connected and pass time without having to endlessly scroll. Plus, it allows you to get back in touch with the best connection: yourself.

Take that extra time you now have to get outside, meet new friends or try something new.

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