‘On our honeymoon’, my new wife utters. (Well who else would be uttering it?) ‘We have to stay in the moment. That means you can’t be spending all day using your phone, tablet or computer’.
I hastily shut down Google Chrome windows displaying information about SIM cards for data access in Bali.
‘Of course,’ I say, as a cold sweat descends upon me. ‘Three weeks without connectivity? I don’t think I’ll be able to manage.’
Turns out, I was right. I couldn’t. I tried very hard, I didn’t even pack my mac, just my phone and iPad, but the internet is too much a part of me to be able to disconnect, however I got pretty damn close. Consider this a beta version.
I went on honeymoon to Bali with my best friend in the world. My iPhone 5. And my wife. Normally, as soon as a planes wheels touch the tarmac I’m turning flight mode off and by the time I’m waiting for my bags I’m busy checking emails, but as we landed in Bali there was simply no need. They had a phone blocker in the arrivals hall. However as the car weaved towards Villa Sungai Gold, the culture shock of my first visit to Asia took hold and the only thing I used my iPhone for was photographing out the window.
We arrived a stunning villa in the small village of Cepaka, the sort of place the Kardashians might rent if they had a bit more class. Now try as I might to live in the moment with my three week old wife (that’s how long she’s been my wife, not how old she is, I’m not a monster) the first problem of being disconnected occurs. A luxury honeymoon, in incredible accommodation, halfway around the world demands to be instagrammed. It simply does. But with poor 3G coverage helping me stay away from the web, I lived in the moment, put my phone away and devoured the Nasi Goreng our chef had prepared for us.
A few days later and I’d only posted a few photos on Facebook, you know, just to let everyone know we’d safely arrived. But as the Four Seasons car arrived, things were about to change. For a start, it had wifi in it and as we zoomed through rice paddies I discovered that Reddit was blocked in Bali and Hyperlapse was a new app that I simply had to use while on Honeymoon.
But this quick hit of internet reignited my addiction. So as we lay by our private pool in our villa suite at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, I started to find excuses to be online, I limited myself to one Instagram and tweet a day but I was on a slippery slope to html-hell. I watched the planes land in the distance and convinced myself and my wife that the FlightTracker App was required. And while most evenings, I left my phone charging in the room (the hot weather was killing the battery life) so my wife and I could get lost in conversation and card games as the Four Season’s iPad cocktail menu were just too much temptation. So she rolled her eyes, and let me hack through their system and surf the net while she, ironically watched the surfers on the beautiful ocean in front of us.
I’d tried to slow down my usage, to stop looking for excuses to use my phone and to focus on living in the moment, yet I was getting withdrawal symptoms. I even booked us on a love and connectivity massage in their gorgeous spa. But as I looked out from my massage bed onto a lily pad pond I realised the connectivity part of this treatment didn’t mean wifi access. It was then that I realised that going without the internet whilst on holiday is stupid.
At this point you might be thinking, you’re on Honeymoon, Cox, just enjoy what you’re doing. And I was enjoying it, but with the internet, like my wife, by my side I found I can enhance our trip no end. Sure I can use the maps, check TripAdvisor on whether a restaurant is any good, use the weather app, show off time-lapses to those back at home, but it’s the instant answers and delivery of knowledge and information which at its heart makes it invaluable. Topics for conversation were researched as I lay by the pool, the car journey to the 21st century tree-house riverside hotel, Four Seasons at Sayan allowed us to discuss Bali’s culture, which is as rich as its Luwak coffee. What’s Luwak coffee you ask? I didn’t know either, I saw a sign for it, Googled it in the car and bang. Boom, interesting topic of conversation and tasty coffee to try.
I loved every second of our honeymoon in Bali. I wasn’t able to switch off, but I was able to live in the moment and use technology to make our honeymoon even more magical; but then something incredible happened. We stopped in Hong Kong for two days on the way back in the ultra luxurious, tallest hotel in the world, The Ritz-Carlton. A hotel in the most connected city in the world, a hotel so good that every hotel I visit now has to live up to. It was there I found myself for three hours without my phone. And not because it was charging. No. I sat in the window seat of our 115th floor room gazing across at the city skyline which, from this height looked like a tilt-shift Instagram photo. The view, coupled with conversations with my wife was enough to hold my attention and make me forget about technology. And I’ve worked out why.
As the day became night and the famous Hong Kong skyline illuminated, boats sailed back and forth across Victoria Harbour, the city went about its business, I didn’t check my phone because the barrage of information I crave, the non-stop delivery of things to assault my senses was right in front of my eyes. Instead of a constantly refreshed Twitter news feed, it was the most breathtaking view of a bustling ever changing city and a wife I adored which stimulated my mind and finally helped me live in real life instead of in an online bubble.
It was a magnificent moment. I could finally, happily be without the net. Well, at least till I had to check in online.Reuse content