I recently got engaged. And no I am not talking about the moment that everyone loves/hates to see on Facebook or Instagram. In fact this post has nothing to do with marriage or relationship advice at all. The past few weeks I have been traveling in Europe. This was my first time traveling outside of the United States, and I had no idea what to expect other than the fact that I would not have much communication with my family back in the states. Not having the access to communication, or Wifi for that matter, forced me to put my phone in my purse and actually listen to what was going on. No facebook, snapchat, instagram, or texting. Sounds miserable doesn’t it.
But I am so thankful for it.
I learned a lot over the past 2 week just by simply looking away from my phone. I noticed the colors and landscape of the mountains of Scotland. The architecture of London’s historical buildings literally took my breath away. The sounds of the choir in Canterbury Cathedral overwhelmed me to the point of tears. The desserts and gourmet cuisine in Paris was so delicious that it was almost impossible to NOT leave a “happy plate”. And the Cliffs of Mohr were so beautiful I risked my life in an attempt to capture it in a photo. These are very easy things for any individual to experience.
But I noticed more.
In Scotland I noticed 4 people total on their cell phones. And I don’t mean that they were sitting and scrolling through their social media accounts, I mean that they were actually utilizing their phones in the way they were meant to be used. They were having conversations. In the downtown district of Glasgow every one was either reading a newspaper(yes ladies and gentlemen they do still exist), reading a book, writing in their journal, or conversing with one another. My first thought was,”My goodness, they are so far behind us.” But I would soon realize that I was wrong in every part of that statement. After Scotland I tried to make a point to look and see how the people in Europe lived their lives without the constant use of technology. And I will have to say, Europe was pretty consistent.
We traveled to many different places within Europe. Scotland, Paris, London, Ireland. And the majority of all the people I observed hardly used their phones. No one was wondering how many likes their picture got on Facebook. They weren’t comparing their lives to others who seem to publicly have their life together on a social media account. And they didn’t pull out their phone to avoid awkward situations with other people. They lived in the moment. I was wrong in thinking that the rest of the world was far behind the U.S in technology. In fact we are the ones who are behind. How often do we stir away from situations and act like we’re busy on our phones? How often do we scroll through Facebook and refresh the page knowing that nothing has updated in the last 5 seconds? And how many times have you looked at someone else’s page and envied what they had? We’re all guilty, including me. It was nice to see how countries can be so unengaged from technology, yet so engaged in their own lives. They lived in the moment.
The world is a huge place to get lost in wonder. I was given the opportunity to do things that other people could only dream to do. I hiked mountains, attended the theatre, toured castles, kissed a leprechaun, sat on the edge of a cliff, road the costal route of the ocean, saw all of Paris at the top of the Eiffel Tower, and I lived in every single moment that I was there. The amount of things we are able to experience in this world is limitless. It’s amazing that I experienced so much, and yet I have so much more to see. I see things in a new light now. All because I put my phone away, and got engaged.