Its no secret that our family took a cheeky holiday to Fiji a couple of weeks ago. We needed it..... A break from a hectic schedule that comes along with 3 children, school, sporting commitments, a small business and a demanding job. It was kind of last minute and the lead up to the trip was busy to say the least, with Finders Keepers and other life events. We had however organised everything so that we would be required to do very little work-wise once we were in Fiji.
When I imagined what this holiday was going to look like it included, long walks on the beach, laying by the pool..... (in 3 minute bursts while supervising 3 kids in the pool) good food and of course some much needed relaxation. What I didn't necessarily realise was that, although i had basically put my business on auto pilot for the week, my subconscious was getting ready to blog, check emails, strategize, post to Facebook and Instagram... etc. exactly the opposite of relaxing in reality.
Lucky for me and my husband the universe had other ideas for us. We realised as we boarded the plane, that we had forgotten to take our camera! That was the first thing, imagine a family holiday with no camera, It took me a good couple of hours to get over this. We had our phones though I kept telling myself... its fine!
Within the first 24 hours of arriving on Tokoriki, both of our phones were cactus. Drew's refused to turn on at all.... and my camera just stopped working!!!!!!!! My CAMERA!!!!!! I was in hell. NO PHOTOS. No Instagram. First world problems.... I know. Ok so we still had our Ipads! The photos would not be as clear or good, but at least they would be evidence of the fact that we were there.......
It was at that point however, that I decided to let go of the control and instead of worrying about our various devises, to really make the most of our amazing holiday. I decided that in stead of carrying my phone with me everywhere and checking Instagram and Facebook that I would instead try and be more present and pay more attention to the things that were happening right here and now.
These are the 5 things I discovered on my tech free holiday.....
- Take photos with your eyes - Not being able to snap a quick photo to remember a particular event was quite stressful at first. Especially when you have kids... you just want to document everything pretty much all the time. The lack of a camera, meant I felt like I needed to look at the amazing views for just a little bit longer and take a mental photograph so I could recall it later or pay extra attention to a situation. So often my memories are jogged because of a photo Im looking at.
- Less distraction = more interaction - Guess what? If you're not distracted by something that will break if dropped or that can't get wet, you are more likely to get amongst it. In the water, on the sand, paddle boarding, snorkelling, whatever is on offer you are more likely to join in and experience it if you are not holding on to something fragile.
- The eyes have it - I found myself making more eye contact with my loved ones. Without a phone in my hand there was nothing to distract me from the moment or the conversation.
- Moments in time - Those moments in time where you are between conversations or thoughts, Im totally guilty of checking my phone.... for anything at all, Ill just have a glance, check Instagram for the 100th time.... any new emails... not in the last 2 minutes. Its embarrassing to admit. Not constantly checking my phone meant the days almost slowed down, if you can believe that. There was more time in my day, every second was not taken up like it normally is. There was down time, quiet time and this is where I felt myself relaxing.
- Being truly present - Its all about the here and now, the You and Me and the Us! Without constant distraction and your thoughts always being somewhere else you can be truly present.
I already feel like I can recall this holiday better than others we have been on with the family, even though we have less documenting the holiday. And although we were only away for 6 days, it felt so much longer. I will challenge myself next family holiday to leave all the devises at home and again really make the most of the time I have with my family, free from distractions.
*photograph by Chris McLennan