Life Offline: What Happens When A Country Loses Internet For 2 Weeks

The Day The Internet Died

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the internet suddenly disappeared from your life?

Can you imagine the chaos that might unfold if your entire country was cut off from the rest of the world? 

And not just for hours or days, but entire weeks?

That’s exactly what happened to us on Sunday January 20th in the Kingdom of Tonga when the underwater fibre optic communications cable from Fiji was suddenly disconnected.

Sundays in Tonga are my favourite day of the week.

It’s actually illegal to work on Sundays. Tongans are devout Christians so Sundays are reserved for church and family and the only thing you’re allowed to do is kai, lotu and mohe: Eat, Pray, Sleep.

I’m not religious myself, but this is probably the thing I love most about living in Tonga. Not only does every business shut down for the day (except hotels), but physical exercise and doing housework are also low grade criminal activities.

Even though I live on a fairly remote off-grid island where there is no law enforcement for miles, I still take Sundays off work. I was already a huge advocate for the life changing magic of lazy Sundays before I moved to Tonga, and I happily declare it my one computer-free day per week, by law.

So when the internet quietly died that Sunday, I didn’t even notice.

I only realised it was out of action when my husband came home that night and complained he couldn’t connect. We sometimes have little internet black outs for 10 or 20 minutes so I just shrugged and told him to read a book instead.

David snorted. “A book! You’ve met me right? I’m your husband?”

 

Cut off from the outside world

 

When I woke up the next morning I immediately grabbed my phone, hit the data button and waited for the inevitable messages to start pinging through.

But there was nothing. The 3G symbol was missing and there was just a tiny dotted circle on the top of the screen endlessly chasing its tail.

An hour or so later I texted David to see if he could get online and that’s when I realised this wasn’t just an internet glitch. It was impossible to call David, text David or call my mum in Australia. The only call that connected was to the island’s landline phone and it was ringing out.

I looked around my bedroom and out to the ocean, holding my neutered iPhone. 

I’d been transported back to 1983 and I felt strangely… alone. 

Now for someone who earns 100% of her income online, I should probably have been more concerned at this point. Especially knowing that Tonga only has internet at all because of an electrical cable that runs thousands of kilometres through deep ocean, which never struck me as the most fool-proof tech set up in the world…

But I’ve called Tonga home for over three years now so I know a few inconvenient hiccups are par for the course when you live on a tiny lump of coral in the middle of a vast ocean.

I had online meetings lined up back-to-back that afternoon with people all over the world, so I spent the morning just trying to get an email or call out to alert them to the issue. But with no text messaging, internet or international phone calls, it was impossible to get a message from Tonga to the outside world.

Around lunch time a little earthquake hit the island.

It was just a baby quake, one of those shifty ones that shoves you side to side rather than rocking and rattling you around. My instinctive reaction was to grab my phone and check the earthquake and tsunami report pages, but an uneasy feeling settled in my stomach when I realised I no longer had that information at my fingertips.

We heard through the coconut wireless that the internet problem had been found, but Tonga had neither the parts nor the equipment to fix it. Apparently they were flying them in from New Zealand sometime later that afternoon and it would be fixed by tomorrow morning. 

Hanging the washing is like Russian Roulette – our clothes line is strung between palm trees and coconut bombs can drop anytime

So I made my peace with having a completely internet-free day and went home to do some work offline. I wrote a marketing report summary for 2018, prepared some social media posts for the island, wrote out a rough outline of a new business idea and edited a few thousand words of my second book.

Without the distractions of colleagues popping in to Slack, emails pinging in my inbox to steal my attention or social media notifications drawing my eye to my iPhone, I smashed out my work in record time.

So I got up and did something I always thought I should do but never did: I worked out. Then I did some yoga. Then I went inside and cleaned the entire house, did a couple of loads of laundry and cooked myself dinner. Then I had a little dance around the lounge room because I was in a particularly good mood and had nothing else to do.

As we crawled into bed that night, I said to David “I can’t believe how much I got done today without the internet! I was a machine! I wouldn’t mind another internet free day tomorrow actually!”

 

Be careful what you wish for…

 

When you sleep in a glass box facing East, you literally wake up at the crack of dawn every day. As soon as the light crept into my bed, I immediately flicked on my 3G to check my messages.

The network was still dead.

My wish had been granted.

For the first time since the internet died, a low level anxiety washed over me.

Ever since I got my first smartphone in 2010, and particularly since working online, I’d had the same morning routine.

I wake up and turn on the internet while I’m still lying in bed, before the crusty smurf poo is even out of my bleary eyes or my head is off the pillow.

I check all my email accounts, Slack messages and social media notifications to see what’s come in overnight. I give it all a quick scan then head into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Then I scroll through a few international news websites while the kettle boils.

My day has barely started and already dozens of other people and their stories and needs and photos and demands are bouncing around in my head.

My alarm clock in the glass box bedroom

My first cup of tea each day is spent mentally triaging the emails and notifications. By the time I drain the cup the most important and urgent messages are tugging at me to respond immediately.

But not that morning. It was Day 3 without the internet. There were no messages and no one else to crawl inside my head. I looked out at the ocean while boiling the kettle and saw it was dead calm and high tide. So I put my togs on, and went for a sunrise swim.

I checked the internet more frantically that morning — flicking the 3G cellular data icon on and off constantly, like a kid pressing the elevator button over and over again to make it come faster. I could feel myself starting to panic.

What if something happened to my parents and they couldn’t get a message to me? What if they saw the earthquake notification and thought we’d been washed away by a tsunami and were worrying about me?

What if people had bought my book but had trouble accessing the download, like one customer who emailed me on Saturday? What about the new coaching client I’d just taken on who might think I’d ghosted her?

Also in my role as Project Manager, I’d been recruiting for a new designer and the job deadline closed today. All those candidates were expecting an answer from me about who had been shortlisted.

Inside my head I could hear a chorus of voices screaming “You’re letting everyone down!!” I wondered if I should just get on a plane and go back to Australia… Then when I realised I couldn’t search or book flights online, it only compounded my panic.

I eventually contacted a friend connected to the Australian High Commission to see if she had their phone number (because I couldn’t Google it) and to ask if they had any way of getting a message out to my family in Australia.

“Yes!” She sympathised “It’s quite a problem and unfortunately it doesn’t look like it will be fixed any time soon. The latest news is it could be out for 2 or 3 weeks!”

I could feel my face slowing transforming into that emoji that looks really shocked while his brain explodes. 3 weeks?!

Faaaaaaaaaark 🤯

 

The reality of life without internet

 

My first thought was to leave Tonga immediately.

I couldn’t do any work or keep any of my client commitments without a decent internet connection. On top of that I’d just launched my new website and the whole thing had taken off faster than I expected. I was overwhelmed by the response I got to my first blog post and the release of my first book, and I wanted to keep that momentum going.

Instead I’d suddenly slipped into a communications black hole.

On the island, our office team were flying completely blind. We had no way of knowing if guests had booked via our website, Booking.com or Expedia and were expecting us to have a bungalow ready for them or worse, a driver waiting for them at the airport. Even if they’d heard about the internet problems and tried to call us, all the phones were unreachable from outside Tonga.

That day, the phone company set up an emergency satellite internet connection at their office. They offered free WiFi for 20 minutes per person, but only 5 people could go online at the same time. Hundreds of people were queuing for internet rations, some waiting six hours to connect to a signal so weak they couldn’t even download their emails.

Rugby Union has pride of place on the Tongan $2 note

By now, people were starting to worry about money because we’d reverted back to a cash society overnight. The ATMs and credit card machines were all reliant on internet so no one could get cash out or pay by card in the shops.

Locals could go into the bank to withdraw cash manually from their accounts but tourists with foreign cards were left stranded. They couldn’t even get money through wiring services like MoneyGram and Western Union because they were down too. This also cut many Tongans off from the remittances they rely on from family members overseas.

Another major challenge was international trade. Tonga relies heavily on imported goods, but the customs process for all imports and exports is entirely internet-dependent.

Everything from medical supplies to perishable items like meat and dairy were stuck in no-mans land. Nothing could be retrieved by the purchaser without a particular document which was issued to them via email.

This sent a small ripple of panic through our household. My French husband has never quite gotten over The Tongan Cheese Drought of 2016 and I shuddered at the thought of crates of Camembert and blue cheese lying irretrievable at customs.

The internet we could probably live without, but cheese?

 

First contact with the outside world

 

Normally, the only time you’ll see me running is if something large and terrifying is chasing me.

But the next morning I woke up at 5.55am, checked the internet was still not working, and in a moment of out-of-character insanity, I went for a jog.

I made a lap of the island and threw myself in the ocean under a not-quite full moon. It was the first time in 2 years of living on the island that I’d even considered going for a run and as I sipped my tea afterwards, watching the sunrise, I was surprised to realise I felt AMAZING.

It was Day 4 offline and it dawned on me that I may actually be a better version of myself without the internet.

That day I planned to try my luck queuing for the free internet in town. I’d pre-written all my emails, social media posts and Out of Office messages alerting the most important people to the internet blackout, and I jumped on a 7.30am boat to the mainland.

I expected to wait several hours in a queue to use the internet but when I arrived, the office was practically deserted.

My face fell into my hands as I realised what this meant.

The back-up internet was now dead, too.

The office quickly filled up with people looking for free internet and the employees on the front line of the phone company had nothing to offer but smiles and apologies. In true island style, the staff were completely laid back about the chaos unfolding around them which only seemed to infuriate some customers who couldn’t understand how Tonga could be so irresponsible as to not have a Plan B for their internet. They weren’t wrong, but they were dreaming if they thought that barking their frustrations at the receptionists in increasingly high-pitched tones would magically fix it somehow.

One of my weird little quirks is that I totally get off on this kind of situation. If you read my blog post, Why I Don’t Have A Purpose, then you’ll know I love it when things don’t work out the way I planned. I especially enjoy solving complex life problems like “How to send an email when there’s no internet”.

I was walking into town, racking my brain for a solution, when I saw a woman I’ve met a few times getting out of her car. I knew she worked for the government so I pounced on her and she confirmed they had a back up internet connection in their office. It was working, but I had no way of getting my emails — all saved on my Mac and iPhone — to her Windows PC. There were no USB ports (a security risk) and we quickly learnt that you cannot scan the screen of a MacBook Air (just in case you were ever wondering).

Defeated, I ran into a friend in town and we retreated to the Coffee Post, a popular little cafe with the best coffee in the Kingdom. It was bursting at the seams that morning with office workers who could afford an extra long morning tea break because they had absolutely nothing to do.

Everyone had a theory about what caused the internet blackout. Most believed the underwater fibre optic cable from Fiji to Tonga had been cut by a ship’s anchor… Someone else said a shark might’ve bitten it in half while another sniggered that “Someone forgot to pay the cable bill”. There were talks of earthquakes on the seabed and underwater volcanic explosions and much later we would hear that it may have been part of a deliberate sabotage plot. The coconut wireless was in full swing, transporting wild stories and rumours from one ill-informed palm leaf to the next. 

That afternoon, a team of superheroes working for the government (and some of their husbands, I understand) joined forces to devise a way to send all my emails in one email to my mum. That coincided with phone calls being reconnected so first contact could be made with the outside world.

I called my poor mum in Australia that night and spent the next 90 minutes helping her hack into all my email and social media accounts. The call dropped out three times while she was distributing all my messages and the line was so crackly and unstable we had to yell at each other, syllable by syllable, to be understood.

That phone call transported me back to a phone booth in Spain in 2002 where I dictated an entire speech to my sister that she would read out at my Oma’s 80th birthday party. It was probably the last time I remember communication being so clunky and analogue, before the internet become so widespread and ubiquitous that no one can really remember or imagine living without it.

Until suddenly we didn’t have a choice.

 

What could possibly go wrong?

 

By the time Day 5 rocked around, the country’s primary phone company had scrambled to connect new satellites and restored some internet for their business customers. This transported our island office from the 1980s to the era of Dial Up.

An email sneaked through every hour, but you were lucky if you could open it and it was a miracle if your response ever made it free of the outbox. The service was so slow they had to block all Facebook and YouTube so people wouldn’t burden the connection trying to watch cat videos.

It was January 24th and that night we were headed off the island to attend a shindig at the Australian High Commissioner’s residence on the mainland. I pulled out my most Australian dress — an all green number I would wear with gold jewellery for that “Aussie Green and Gold” look — and I dusted off the make-up I wear, on average, about 8 times a year.

All frocked up and ready to rock, David and I were headed through the jungle to the boat when I looked down at my dress and let out a frustrated growl.

This could be the offending gastro gecko…

“Crap!” I cursed, stopping in my tracks “A gecko shat on my dress!” David turned back to assess the damage and helpfully pointed out three other places where my dress had been hit by some kind of explosive lizard diarrhoea.

#LifeInParadise

While David went on ahead to hold the boat, I ran back to the house to get changed, only realising when I reached the front door that I was locked out. Exasperated, I grabbed my phone to call David so he could come back and let me in, but the line was dead. I tried to send a text message but it immediately failed. Normally, I would get him instantly on WhatsApp but the good old days were gone. 

My phone now had zero communication capabilities…

I had no way to get in the house…

And I didn’t have time to run to the boat, run back to the house, get changed, AND make it back to the boat before it left for the mainland.

So that’s how I found myself drinking bubbly wine that night, with national ambassadors, police chiefs, military personnel, diplomats and high court judges, wearing a party frock smattered with gecko diarrhoea. If you’d asked me to write down all the things that could possibly go wrong when a country’s communications shut down, I’m not sure this scenario would’ve made it onto the list…

 

The novelty wears off

 

It was on Day 6 when I — like that gecko — finally lost my $h!t.

Firstly, I found myself jogging around the island again at 5.55am and, quite frankly, I was now starting to scare myself with all this early morning activity — especially given I’d smashed a few glasses of bubbles the night before.

Secondly, a staff member on the island was violently ill the next morning, not sure which end to point towards the toilet, and he had one really unusual symptom which didn’t seem to fit with gastro.

And I couldn’t Google it.

Frustration settled in my solar plexus that morning and refused to budge.

It was one thing to be cut off from work and family and communications, but what the hell did we do before the internet when we got sick? Go to the doctor? Every single time our bodies did something weird? You’ve got to be kidding me…

It took 32 attempted calls over 45 minutes to connect just 2 actual phone calls — a line out to the pharmacy to order some drugs AND a call to our boat driver to ask him to go pick them up. My frustration became a bubbling rage as I muttered unhelpful rhetorical statements under my breath, like “How can something so simple be so **** hard?” while dialling the same number over and over again. 

As I was sitting in the office stabbing the number pad on the phone with my frustrated fingers, a guest approached the counter wanting to book a trip to a volcanic island.

She couldn’t remember the name. Neither could we. We stood at the reception — three bright, capable women who had lived in Tonga for somewhere between 3 years and all our lives — and we searched the air for the answer.

That name on the tip of our tongues was Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai. Of course… Photo credit: BBC

“Is it Tofua?”

“No that’s in Ha’apai”

“I think it starts with H”

“Hamo…something?”

“Maybe…”

“Remember when we had Google?”

“Hmmm, good times”

“This must be what it felt like in the 80s”

“You mean stupid? I feel stupid”

But here’s the thing:

It was NOT like being back in the 1980s at all. Because the wise people of the 80s hadn’t put all their information eggs in one basket like our society has done with the internet. Back then there were encyclopaedias and manuals and phone books and almanacs and ledgers and big wads of information bound together so people would know stuff.

In the last 20 years all those records have been digitised, stored online and made extinct. As soon as you take the internet away, we’re in a much worse position for accessing information than we were thirty or forty years ago. Now when ever I needed to know something, I had the sense of floating in space, searching for answers in a great wide nothing.

Not only that, but as days went by it became obvious that not only could I not remember a bunch of stuff, but it slipped out of my brain as soon as I’d learnt it. I can still tell you the six digit phone number of my best friend in primary school, but if you asked me what was the five digit phone number I called dozens of times to reach the pharmacy earlier that day, I’d have no idea. My brain seemed to do nothing to anchor it into place, trained to believe it could just look it up again.

If you’ve ever asked yourself what these smartphones might be doing to our memories, I have a theory:

They’ve kind of replaced them.

 

Am I a better person without the internet?

 

By the time we hit Week 2 without internet, I didn’t even miss it anymore. I jogged or swam every morning. Sometimes I did both. I practiced Tai Chi on the beach. I spent hours working on the second draft of a book I’ve been writing for four years, relishing the lack of distractions and smashing out tens of thousands of edited words. 

A rare image of my husband in a hammock reading a book…

David, who mocked me a week earlier when I suggested he read a book, was now spending his free time swinging in his hammock, lost in the pages of a novel. Reading often put him to sleep so he read, napped, read and napped while he swung between two palm trees.

With no internet or TV, we stayed up chatting most nights, talking rubbish and going to sleep early. We slept better than ever. Sometimes I got out my ukulele and David drummed on a book and sang along. Other times we sat side by side in bed, silently reading our books together.

By now, we had a better satellite internet connection in the office so the island was able to run more smoothly, and I could get basic messages out to let people know I was still offline for work.

It was kind of like the early 2000s, when I only had access to the internet at work. I could use it for sending an urgent email or to look up information if I was feeling patient enough to wait for the pages to load.

Maybe these were the golden years of the internet?

In the beginning, the internet was a tool, not a pastime. We used it when we needed it. We appreciated it for how it simplified our lives and improved our communications, without taking it for granted.

We didn’t rely on it for our entertainment or amusement. And we weren’t so addicted and reliant on it for our social contact in those years before Facebook and smartphones simultaneously exploded around 2007. We used our phones as phones and spoke to people in real time. 

It was two weeks since the internet had been removed from my normal day-to-day life and I felt different. Lighter in my body and mind. Mentally clearer. I felt more accomplished and productive.

I’d become aware of how I instinctively reached for my phone whenever I had a sliver of time to kill. If I was queuing at the supermarket, travelling to town on the boat, waiting for the kettle to boil or eating a meal alone, I filled those gaps by scrolling through social media. When I was offline, I just watched the world go by and thought about stuff.

Without the internet, I had more time to think, daydream, imagine, and process my thoughts. It was like my brain was a muddy swamp and now someone had switched on a pump to get fresh water circulating through it. I started journaling again to capture the new thoughts and ideas whirling around my mind and it felt like some kind of deep mental cleansing.

When I woke up on February 2nd to a text message telling me the internet had been reconnected, I was surprised that my first reaction was profound disappointment. The first time my phone had connected to the WiFi I had 104 WhatsApp notifications and my inboxes were so full I couldn’t bear to look at them.

Now I left the 3G on and was disturbed as my phone had little fits all day, squealing and vibrating at odd times, catching me off guard and interrupting my precious thoughts.

As the day wore on, my disappointment slowly deteriorated into a mild depression. The internet suddenly felt like an irritating intrusion on my “real” life. 

“What the hell is wrong with you, Laura?!” I tried to snap myself out of it.

I love the internet. I know that I love the internet.

I can’t work without the internet and my entire livelihood depends on it. It’s because of this magical tool that I have the freedom to live the way I do — to work and travel and share stories and meet people and learn random new skills from teachers who live on the opposite side of the world.

It’s the key to so much goodness in my life, so why was I sulking when it was finally reconnected?

 

5 things I learnt from losing the internet

 

It’s one thing to run away to a tropical island for the express purpose of disconnecting from the internet and going off the grid. It is another thing entirely to remove the internet from your regular, day-to-day life and try to function normally without it.

It goes without saying, I lost two weeks of income and my finances took a big hit. But I chose to stay in Tonga because it seemed like a fascinating social experiment and, for most people, an unimaginable situation in 2019. It caught the attention of media outlets around the world, including the New York Times who published an article titled “Could You Last Without The Internet For 11 Days?”, as if the internet was as vital as water. 

I was even interviewed on a German radio station last week by a journalist who was curious to know how we coped and whether this experience has changed the way I view and use the internet. 

It think it has. But I waited to publish this blog post until I’d been reconnected for more than a week to see if some of these new ideas and habits hold. 

Here’s a few things I learnt in my two internet-free weeks and my first week being reconnected:

#1: It’s ok to put my own needs before the needs of people online

I see now that through the internet, I’ve let the outside world have way too much power over my inside world.

By opening the internet floodgates first thing every morning, I invite dozens of other people’s requests, demands, ideas and thoughts into my mind ahead of my own. How can I read the abstract and intuitive messages my body and mind are sending me when there’s a much more tangible message lighting up my phone, spelling out in bold letters what my priorities should be.

During the blackout, thanks to all that jogging and swimming, I lost 2 kilos, got a great new tan and felt my body get stronger in a relatively short space of time. Now that I’m reconnected, I still try to reclaim my mornings for me by not switching on the internet until I’ve moved my body and had breakfast. 

To be honest, I’ve been shocked at how hard this has been to maintain since I’ve come back online. Sometimes I can’t help myself and I flick the internet on, telling myself I’ll “just take a quick look” before I get moving. Other days I stop myself, but it’s never easy to overcome that internal drive to check my messages first thing.

One habit I have been able to maintain, however, is that I now exercise every morning before I start work. This has been the blackout’s best gift to me. I feel better in my body than I have in years… 

#2: It’s ok to not know everything right now

If I don’t know something, I don’t need to grab my phone immediately to find the answer. It’s ok to wonder and ponder. It might even be good for my brain.

The world doesn’t end because I don’t know what movie that actress has been in before, or what currency they use in Azerbaijan, or whether penguins have knees.

My curiosity, which is always in overdrive, was more reasonable and measured when I had less access to information. With no internet, I couldn’t spend hours trawling websites for answers and information that had very little impact on my quality of life, just because I was curious.

Sometimes I felt frustrated when my curiosity kicked in and I couldn’t look something up. But not being able to look up random facts had no negative impact on my life whatsoever. In fact, without a constant barrage of information flooding my brain, I felt mentally clearer and more focused than I can ever remember feeling.

Now every time I reach for my phone thinking “Oh I should look that up!” I immediately ask myself “Why? Will it improve your life?”. If it’s not important to my life, my relationships, my dreams, my projects, my work, I now let it go about 9 times out of 10.

Let’s see how long that lasts…

#3: The smartest feature on my smartphone is the telephone

During the internet blackout, when I spoke to someone who wasn’t in front of me, it was always over the old fashioned telephone. I found a 5 minute phone conversation was so much more personal and soul hugging (not to mention efficient) than the equivalent 10-15 minutes I would normally spend busting my thumbs to exchange a barrage of instant messages punctuated with emojis and the pressure of trying to be far wittier via text than I am in real life.

I love the family groups I have in WhatsApp where we can all chat together and share our news in a central location. But when I want to speak to an individual human, I now make more effort to connect in real time via the phone. Hearing someone’s voice gives me a much greater feeling of connection than texting, no matter how many emojis with love heart eyes I add at the end.

#4: I don’t need to have the internet connected all day

My productivity during the internet blackout was unprecedented for me, and this is something I never want to lose again.

I’ve now taken to working offline when I can — like when I’m writing a report, editing my book, drafting social media posts, responding to emails — and only switching the internet on at intervals throughout the day to send my work and check what’s new to come in.

If someone needs to contact me urgently, they can call me. I rarely miss anything important by being offline for 2-3 hour chunks throughout the day and I get more done when I don’t leave it running idly in the background on my computer and phone.

#5: When we disconnect from the internet, we reconnect with people and we PLAY 

When Tonga was offline, the cafes and bars of Nuku’alofa were overflowing with people chatting and laughing over a coffee. The streets were unusually full of kids kicking a ball around or sitting in the shade playing cards with their mates. Musical instruments were dusted off and non-readers discovered the joy of books.

Adults retrieved old backgammon sets and played together with a glass of wine. I saw two guys make a checker board out of a scrap of cardboard and a permanent marker, and instead of red versus black tokens they played Tonga Water Caps against Wine Bottle Screwtop Lids.

In those two weeks, I had more interesting conversations and connections with people. I moved my body and played more. I finished two books I’d lost interest in over the last few months. I was more creative and resourceful and came up with more imaginative ideas. I took less photos (because I couldn’t post them anywhere) and as a result, I lived more in the moment.

I’m still in this mode, almost two weeks later, but even more remarkably, my husband is still reading books! I hope this change lasts forever… 

How my relationship to the internet might change

 

So many of those clichéd and utopian scenarios you might imagine in an internet-less world did actually happen for me.

But the truth is, I don’t want to live my life offline. The internet completely supports the lifestyle I’ve created for myself and I love my life.

Now I’m reworking my relationship with the internet so it’s more like the relationship I have with wine. I have access to all the wine I want in the world, but it’s up to me to decide how much I consume. Do I want to be someone who savours a glass of red with a wedge of Camembert, or do I want to be a drunk who smashes countless bottles every day without tasting it?

People always say it’s all about “finding a balance” or “using it in moderation” but for me, I think I need to reframe the role the internet plays in my life. I want it to be a tool again. A resource. I don’t want to use it as a pastime or an escape. And I certainly don’t want to go back to using it as a way to “kill time”.

Why was I ever so eager to kill time before when I could daydream instead?

So let’s see what happens over the next few months as I reintegrate into the online world after being offered this gift — the chance to experience the modern world without its most prevalent technology.

Will it change the way I use the internet long term?

Will I actually keep up this jogging thing when there’s not even a bear or an axe murderer chasing me?

Or will I wake up one day and find myself covered in Tim Tam crumbs, watching YouTube reels of Britain’s Got Talent’s most emotional auditions, with no idea how I got there?

Only time will tell…

Laura xx

P.S. To celebrate being back online, I’ve done something unexpected.

I gave up Facebook two years ago because I was addicted to mindless scrolling… but this week I’ve set up and launched a Facebook page for The Magic of Everything. Because if I really want to embrace the internet as a tool, I can’t deny that Facebook is a total Swiss Army Knife when it comes to connecting people with like-minded souls and stories.

So today I make my first hesitant steps back into the Land of Facebook, population 2 billion. I’d love it if you join me over on The Magic of Everything

 

Laura Maya
ABOUT Laura Maya

Laura Maya is an Aussie-French nomad, writer and alternative lifestyle coach. She’s the author of Work The World and curator of the free self-coaching program GPS for the Soul

Laura has been working and travelling the world slowly since 2001 — exploring cultures, writing stories and learning languages in almost 60 countries. Now she helps other restless and curious souls design a life they love by exploring alternative ways to live, earn, explore and impact the world.