When you travel, what is the first thing you do when you touch down at your destination?
You may want to get the cheapest local SIM card for all of your data needs. Although if you have planned in advance, you could’ve gotten a much better package with Flexiroam that works on your current SIM card, provides 1GB data, and is available in over 53 countries.
However, today we are going to suggest that you ditch your data plan altogether. But not for any new-age reasons of getting yourself to detoxify from social media and being one with the universe. Instead, you might be surprised at how much different your travelling experience could be. And this includes…
1. You get to look like a real tourist – with a real map!
Remember the days where you had to navigate through the city with street signs instead of Waze? Well, now you can recreate that inconvenient nostalgic feeling!
Here’s what you need to do. Head to the nearest convenience store, get a city map (an actual physical one) and spread it wide while cruising through the street. For a complete ‘tourist look’, you might also want to hang a camera around your neck.
Then, wait for the magic to happen. A helpful local or a fellow traveller approaches you. You start talking and find that there is some chemistry going on. You decide to have a drink together. It turns out to be the best night of your life. You leave the next day with a teary goodbye but choose to keep in touch. After two years of a difficult long-distance relationship, you both get married.
2. You have an excuse not to reply to that urgent email
Most of us are trapped in this vicious cycle of capitalism. You either have an employer to report to or a client to get back to. Even if you have turned on the vacation responder on your email, you still get texts in every messaging apps possible.
Thankfully, you can avoid all this if you don’t have data! Whatsapp messages remains single-ticked. Your Messenger status remains offline.
But if they follow you on social media, be careful on the timing of your IG photos and stories, or just don’t post anything. Instead, send your travel photos individually to your friends and relatives. Even better, send postcards with your own handwriting, scribbles and sketches! These are much more personal and intimate.
3. You get to be cool and mysterious to your acquaintances
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but the truth is, most of our travel photos are mediocre. If it’s the same shot of an aeroplane wing by the window seat or your waxed legs by the beachside, just keep them in the phone’s memory.
With the absence of data, you won’t feel pressured to post photos at every single stop. This will cultivate an air of mystery to your Facebook friends (to whom you rarely talk to anyway). What is he doing over there? Why doesn’t she feel the need to impress us with her itinerary? You are unpredictable and capricious. You are calm and collected. You are… cool and mysterious.
The trick is to post fewer photos but from more exotic places. Instead of bumming on the sands of Bali, climb to the top of Mount Rinjani. This doesn’t just show that you have the money go on a holiday, it also shows that you have the unyielding grit to overcome extreme physical challenges. The catch is, you have to have the unyielding grit to overcome extreme physical challenges!
4. You get to immerse yourself in deafening loneliness
You might have heard of this analogy before, where social media is just like a fridge. You don’t open it up because you need something, but because you feel bored.
And in this age of constant connectivity, lots of us turn to social media not just to escape boredom, but to escape any sort of unpleasant sensation at all. Feeling sad? Scroll Insta feed. Feeling lonely? Scroll Insta feed. Scrolling Insta feed? Scroll Inst…
Stop. Put down your phone. Welcome the darkness, your old friend. Let the feelings sink in and well up in your chest until you start to weep, though you know not what you weeping for. But all is going to be alright. In Rumi’s words, being human is a guest house, every emotion comes as an unexpected visitor and should be welcomed:
“Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.”
Going data-free can you set you free
Going data-free is radical, especially if you’re travelling alone. But if your safety is ensured and you’re willing to experiment with a different way of experiencing the world, you might want to give it a shot.
For everyone else, there’s always Flexiroam. Did we tell you that it works on your current SIM card, provides 1GB data, and available in over 53 countries? We think we did.