When I left for Malaysia in mid February, I blogged about taking some time off the blog to spend time with my family and close friends. I also mentioned that you could follow me on my travels by checking out the hashtag #tinetravels on Twitter and Instagram. I’m not sure if you noticed but unlike my previous trips/holidays, I barely posted any photos on Instagram or Twitter updates this time. Believe it or not, I didn’t think of it as a #FAIL but a #WIN.
Say what? 😛
Staying off social media during my holiday this time wasn’t intentional (if it was, I wouldn’t have mentioned following me on that hashtag). I took a lot of photos, yes, but I decided not to post them on social media in the end because I felt that those were moments with my family and close friends that I wanted to remain private. I took photos of food (good lord, I sure ate a lot during Chinese New Year) but ended up not posting photos of those because I rarely post photos of food on Instagram anyway. I checked Twitter and Facebook on the average of twice a day. I checked Instagram once a week. I didn’t realise how much I stayed away from social media until the end of the trip when I was ready to go home. Suddenly there was that thing about a dress, people tweeting topics that I had no idea about … and the funny thing was, I didn’t develop that usual FOMO* feeling that I’d normally have.
The only thing I checked more often than social media was emails but I only replied the urgent ones and left the rest to be replied when I got home a few days ago. Again, the sky didn’t fall because I didn’t reply all emails asap.
It felt strange, for sure, with the phone usually attached to my hand but not using it for social media as I usually would. When I was with my side of the family just before Chinese New Year, instead of having all cousins attached to their phones, my brother brought board games to play just so this ensures we stayed off our phones. When I visited Tim’s extended family, instead of being glued to our phones, one of his aunties brought all of us cousins to a nearby fun fair. I haven’t been to a fun fair in donkey years and while the games were expensive to play (and you very seldom win anyway), it was worth the money and time as we got to know each other better in a really fun environment. This is a far cry from our usual practice of staying glued to the phone and social media.
The fireworks at night during Chinese New Year where Tim and I celebrated the first couple of days of Chinese New Year were spectacular. I’d normally try to capture it with my phone but this time, I completely forgot to take my phone out and enjoyed the wonderful sight with my eyes instead of my camera.
This trip was the first time I stayed away from my phone this much. And you know what? It felt really good. It felt really good to enjoy the moments without needing to capture them with my phone first. It felt really good not needing to check Twitter every hour and it sure as hell felt damn good not to feel as though I’ve missed out on something because I wasn’t on social media much.
If you tend to spend a lot of time on social media, I highly recommend taking a break from it especially if you’re going to be going on a holiday. The change will be very refreshing, I can tell you that. While my “hiatus” (in quotes because I wasn’t on one 100% of the time) from social media during the trip didn’t begin intentionally, I continued with it. I put my phone away as much as I could. There were times when I even left the phone at home! And I didn’t freak out! 😛
Think of it this way: when you’re out with family and/or friends, yet you consistently check Twitter/Instagram/Facebook/Whatsapp/whatever on your phone, is the company of the people you’re hanging out with that bad that you prefer to hang out with someone else on your phone instead? Even if it’s not, by doing so, that’s exactly what you’re telling them.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you on social media when you’re on holiday? Or do you make it a point to switch them off?
*Fear of Missing Out