Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Analog Europe

I am approaching a once-in-a-lifetime trip (once in a lifetime for me because I doubt I'll be able to afford to make one like this again) for Europe: One week in England (mainly in the Cotswolds) and one week in Austria. One of my goals on this trip is to go mostly analog. Yes, I will have my phone with me, but outside of emergencies, I am hoping to use my phone only as a camera, GPS, and maybe for a little musical interlude here and there (but not often). In fact, I've been getting calls to upgrade my smart phone for a couple of weeks now. I'll pass for the moment. My reasoning is that when I lived in England as a teenager, there was no such thing as a smart phone, there was no internet, and, outside of a few dumb choices that I made that led to grim consequences, I really miss the feeling I felt there - often - of being fully engaged in life: hearing the trees and grass, smelling rain on the air, feeling heat and cold and wind wet and dry, talking to humans, walking in the landscape and feeling the Earth under my feet, all as a participant, rather than an observer. I want to be fully in this trip!

Today, the day before the release of Stranger Things 3 (which I intend to watch, digitally, on my Fire TV - which, incidentally, I won at a drawing at work: I didn't buy it), out comes another episode of my favorite podcast, Weird Studies, this one using a fabulous series of essays by J.F. Martel entitled Reality is Analog.

I originally read this essay several months ago, around the time that I posted a blog entry entitled Analog Kid (yes, after the song by Rush). In that post, I tentatively posited my thoughts on how I desired to return to a more analog existence. That notion hasn't diminished and has, in fact, grown stronger. I have begun the Snail Mail RPG I referred to, have written more letters since then than I did in the previous twenty years combined, and am spending a lot less time on social media. Yes, I'm still there, but in a passing way. I can "unhook" from social media much more easily now than in the past. I am also writing more, again, just having finished another short story.

Now, I am a believer that when one writes something down and presents it to the world, one is more committed to it. That's why we sign written contracts, n'es-ce pas? There is something like a covenant with oneself that one makes when one seriously puts a commitment down "on paper". In this case, I want to put a commitment on my blog, so it's publicly known, so I'm accountable.

While in Europe, I will not use my phone for social media. No Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram, no Mewe, no nothing. Two weeks. Even though I've been leaning this direction for some time, this is a painful thing to type. Really, this is extremely difficult to commit to, and it makes me downright nervous. But I want to do it. Take a "fast," if you will, from social media. I reserve the right to contact my children through Email and text, but I am not going to post anything for the last two weeks of July.

One thing that I am hoping will help: When I'm travelling, I usually do the social media thing at night, when I'm getting ready for bed. Instead, I have purchased a pair of beautiful Rhodia Landscape Webnotebooks (yes, I am aware of the irony here), within which I will take notes, jot down thoughts, maybe even do some sketches (thought I am not a visual artist, by any means). I'm not even taking something to read, which is near-blasphemy to me. Now, I am very likely to pick up a book or two, especially when we visit the booktown, Hay-on-Wye, in fact, I have a list of authors for whom I will be a-hunting. But I am really hoping to fill my time and brain with writing; creating, not consuming.

 Two weeks.

Who's with me?


  1. Seems like a good goal to me. Way to go - have a great trip!

  2. Good luck and whatever happens have a great trip.

    1. Thank you! It's all up to the travel gods at this point!