It shouldn’t be so hard to travel without a laptop.
It didn’t use to be. I was traveling laptop and fancy free as little as 3 years ago. I backpacked through Europe for months using only those dusty old terminals you find hidden in hostel corners. The world has changed, and so have I.
I announced a couple of weeks ago that Mike and I were taking an honest to goodness vacation. It was our first one since we started working from the road two years ago, and I was a little nervous about how it would go.
It wasn’t easy to tear myself away from my computer for a whole week. My beautiful, shiny macbook air is my most treasured possession. It’s my main outlet for expression, communication, work and even distraction. I spend more time physically touching my computer than I do my boyfriend.
Which I supposed makes it all the more important to take a short break. Here’s how our week went.
Stage One: Withdrawal
We caught the ferry early Tuesday morning from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay. It’s not really that far: some people even come as a day trip. That’s exactly what it felt like: a day trip, so I didn’t worry too much as we ate lunch in the old city, explored the fort and rented a gold cart to cruise around time.
Then, night fell. After dinner we found ourselves sitting in the hostel common room, dumbfounded. What exactly were we supposed to be DOING? Everyone else in the room was huddled over their own laptops: skyping, browsing hostels, flipping through facebook. Eventually I read my novel while Mike played games on his phone. We both went to bed unnaturally early.
That night I dreamed of work and woke up stressed and confused.
Stage Two: Recovery
The next day we caught the bus to Montevideo, Uruguay’s charming capital city. Usually when we arrive in a new hostel our first move is to check our email. Since that wasn’t an option we checked in that directly went out sightseeing. That felt kind of nice.
Back at the hostel, which was much more social than the last, we Gerry and Judy from Australia and New Zealand respectfully. Since we didn’t have our noses buried in our laptops we ended up chatting. We all decided to go out for lunch the next day. It was a start of a friendship that would last the entire week and beyond (the four of us just had dinner in Buenos Aires the other day).
By day three I was getting the hang of the no internet thing. I checked my emails once a day on the hostel computer and only responded to the most urgent ones. Other then that I didn’t really think about work too much.
Judy and Gerry came along with us to Punta del Este where we ate amazing asado and lounged on the beach. The four of us decided to rent a car and road trip up the coast to Punta del Diablo. Judy booked our hostel reservation on her old white Macbook which I eyed semi-enviously.
In Punta del Diablo we got drunk off of cheap mojitos and threw ourselves into the dark ocean. I hadn’t written a post in almost a week, I hadn’t even checked my email in two days. Whatever, who cares?
By the end of the week, as we watched the sun set in Punta del Diablo, I couldn’t have cared less about the work that awaited me at home. I was having fun.
Usually our work schedules force us to travel slowly, and to spend lots of time in doors. Because we were being normal for once, we had so much more flexibility and free time.
Of course, all vacations have to end (do they? They do.) By the time we got back to Buenos Aires I was feeling relaxed, refreshed, and dying to catch up on my internet gossip! I think it was a good exercise and I’m going to try to continue to take a break a couple of times a year.
After all everyone needs a vacation sometimes…
This post was written by me, brought to you by Best Western UK