The good with the bad

We’ve been away from home for a bit over two months now but it’s great to be able to rely on the internet to communicate to our loved ones. We may not always have access to it but most times we would.

Travelling around Asia has been good in that sense. We never expected to be able to access the internet in most places but we have. We’ve not even needed to buy a local SIM card. In certain places, the connection might be patchy but it’s enough to send a quick message back home.

We are so grateful that we are able to rely on the internet to do a myriad of things. It may not be as widespread and quick in Asia but the important things like sending an email and banking have been vital, especially so for us as we are building our house back home.

We wouldn’t have been able to do both at the same time; Travel and Build our dream home. We’ve been able to manage and track what’s been happening back home via email which has been such a breeze. Doing so also gave us the peace of mind that we can enjoy our travels and not fret about our commitments back home.

Efficiently doing transactions online still has a long way to go in Asia, like banking, booking a hotel, transport, tours etc. – don’t get me wrong, in some countries, you will be able to do this but I think it’s just not as widely used, reliable nor it is regulated/monitored and from what I’ve noticed, you would still need a verbal/phone confirmation just in case the transaction never went through (with the exception of a few more developed countries in Asia).

Back home, we do most things online (even our weekly groceries) once you’ve paid, you’re good to go. No need to re-confirm over the phone or worry about whether the transaction went through or not.

Travelling in such a well-connected society is great that you are able to share photos, use “FaceTime”, and send a quick hello back home without a fuss. We recognise this but we’ve also noticed that we sometimes fail to enjoy the moment and rush through the end of the day, to post in our social media platform of our choice, to phone home and to go through photos or whatever it is that encourages us to be glued on our mobile devices for a few more hours before bed.

What did travellers do back when Facebook or Instagram did not exist? When all they had was a camera and a backpack full of clothes? I think back then – before the internet age, people wrote more, reflected more and spoke to each other more. They would’ve certainly felt a lot further away from home, isolated perhaps and that much more disconnected from their lives back home. They would’ve certainly have had no choice but to fully immerse themselves wherever foreign place they may be at the time.

I’m not complaining. It would’ve certainly been a very different experience have I travelled without the internet but I am grateful that I feel more connected to my family and friends. In saying that, I think I have gained better appreciation for the many things that we could do over the internet back home, the efficiency of doing things and the convenience of having it. I have also been able to reflect and learn to be more patient, more aware and more cognizant when my phone is starting to take over my day.

I’m all for taking photos but don’t forget to enjoy and appreciate what’s around you. Be more aware and let your senses take over your mind, feel the energy of the place, the smell, the sights, the sounds – embrace it all.

The internet has enabled us to do so much but it can also take away your ability to be completely present at a particular moment. In an instant you can connect with your family and friends who are otherwise hundreds and thousands of kilometres away but it can also immediately distract you from the learning experience that only travelling can provide.

Take the good, with the bad. Find the equilibrium. Never forget why you chose to travel in the first place and let your answer guide and remind you to be present in every single moment.

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