Last Post: Travel Blogging Challenge Highlights and What I’ve Learned

I made it!!!!!!!

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For those who have never heard of this challenge, here is your opportunity to read it all the way ’til the end: 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge (feel free to do a challenge of yourself!).

After over three months of blogging, there are a few posts that I’m quite proud of for writing myself. Here are some of the best:

Challenge Highlights

As I approached this last post, I feel nervous and excited. Nervous because I feel as if I have exhausted my writing topics. What else is there to share aside from all the experiences I’ve had?

With the end in sight, I’m excited because I’ve stuck to this challenge through the end. There were definitely weeks where I did not feel like writing, but this challenge had motivated me to get back into my blogging grind. Furthermore, this challenge was born from one of my monthly goals list, and I’m quite happy about being able to finish it.

I’ve learned a lot from this blogging challenge. I have practiced determination by pursuing a hobby and passion of mine through long, lazy days. I have learned to flow my writing better. Best of all, I’ve made great fun blogging friends along the way.

Again, do check out my 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge, where you will find the rest of the challenge prompts!


What’s next?

Well, now that I’m out of a 3+ month long blogging commitment, I want to take a break from challenge prompts for a little bit.

I’m hoping to get an actual blog domain for myself in the next few months. This would be a great way to explore uncharted waters and take a dive in the deep blogging pool. Adventures ahead!

What are some of your goals and proud accomplishments?


Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Here are some other posts you might like:

Read more of my posts from the Travel Blogging Challenge:

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Guest Post: Why Africa should be your next travel destination

So first, a bit about me. I’m Giles, a 26 year old travel blogger from the UK blogging on gilesmeetsworld.com. Last year was lucky enough fulfill my dream of traveling around the world, quitting my full time London job to visit 18 countries across 5 continents. The final leg of my trip was a camping group tour through Africa lasting 40 days, driving from Cape Town to Nairobi. We traveled through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania (including Zanzibar) and Kenya. It was without doubt one of my all time travel highlights so this post is just a taste of why you should make Africa your next travel destination.

The Experience

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Admittedly Africa probably isn’t on the top of most people’s travel lists. I went to Sub-Saharan Africa as I wanted to go somewhere different, go somewhere which wasn’t on your standard gap year route, experience new things, push myself out of my comfort zone, and most of all, travel in a way that felt like an adventure.

Africa certainly didn’t disappoint. From the moment I landed in Cape Town, looked out of my hostel window and saw Table Mountain in all it’s splendor, I was treated to so many incredible experiences you just wouldn’t find elsewhere in the world.

Africa has some of the most beautiful species of animals and wildlife in the world, some of the most stunning landscapes you may have not even heard of, and some of the most friendly and inspiring people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting.

In 40 days I traveled over 10,000 miles, experiencing cities, desert, river deltas, lakes, canyons,white sandy beaches, not to forget the Serengeti (think Lion King) and so much more. I experienced the scorching heat of the Namib desert whilst climbing a 170 metre high sand dune, came face to face with lions mere feet away, and sat on the edge of the Victoria falls. This is just a taste of some of the once in a lifetime things you can experience here.

Wildlife

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Wildlife, wilderbeest migration

For many people, this is the most common reason to come to Africa, to go on safari and game drives and see some of the incredible wildlife it has to offer. We were lucky enough not only to just see it, but we were immersed in it through camping in national parks un-fenced off from wildlife.

We would have hippos and elephants make their way through the campsite at night, have hyenas calling out all around, and have buffalo casually strolling over to block our toilet facilities. We sat watching a water hole in Etosha national park, whilst Giraffes, wilderbeest, and rhino all came to take a drink.

I saw some of the world’s most beautiful and breathtaking animals in my 40 days, and saw them in their natural habitat right where they should be. There really is no substitute.

Landscapes

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Landscapes, Namib desert

I’ve briefly touched on a couple of landscapes in Africa but the amount of natural wonders you can see, and the sheer size of it all is something to behold. I’ve mentioned it above, but sitting in the ‘devils pool’ on the edge of the Victoria falls (see main pic) has always been on my travel bucket list, and it really didn’t disappoint.

The water is shallow enough and rock formations such that you can safely sit right on the edge of the falls poking your head right out.

On top of this: we visited Fish River Canyon, the second biggest canyon in the world behind only the Grand Canyon; stayed on Zanzibar in Tanzania with its sparkling white beaches and aquatic life; we climbed sand dunes and explored the Namib desert; stayed in the Okavango river delta traveling by traditional dug out canoe to make our way past hippos to camp on a small island; saw and did game drives in the Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti; and swam in Lake Malawi with some of the friendly locals. I could go on and on and on about how much there is to see and do here, most of which I never expected.

Summary

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So in summary, I don’t actually work for the Africa tourist board, I just saw and did SO much in such a short time that I can’t speak highly enough of my experience. Having been to other places in my travels that become overrun with tourists and have the local culture diluted somewhat, traveling through these seven countries you get a real experience that feels like an adventure. In my time in Africa I was pushed out of my comfort zone and learnt more about myself than anywhere else I’ve traveled, and for that Africa will always be a special place for me.

If you enjoyed this post, I’ve got lots more on the rest of my trip and other experiences here, and here is part 1 and part 2 of my Africa travel journal with plenty more on my time there. Thanks for reading and happy traveling!


As always, thanks for stopping by, folks! I hope you enjoyed reading my latest collaboration. See my post on published on Giles’ page, writing about “My Firsts in Central America!”

Have a safe night, and safe travels. Also, Happy Halloween!

 

What’s in my Journal Entry?

My journal is what keeps me from going mad.

I recently filled up my Eagle notebook, given to me by my little sister as a Christmas gift. Its lifespan was 1 year before I ran out of space. I miss it a lot. So, today, I decided to write about what I keep in my journal and why I love it so much.

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First of all, my journal isn’t like most people’s journal. It doesn’t have a beginning, middle, end. It doesn’t follow a paragraph/sentence structure.

My thoughts often flutter incessantly and annoyingly. My journal captures it and shuts it up, giving it a sense of closure.

When I’m overwhelmed or stressed out, I sit down and write whatever comes to my mind. More often than not, I’m already thinking about these things, so what comes out on paper is a flurry of segments, undecipherable rubbish that makes perfect sense to only me. I start connecting my thoughts.

So- my writing looks like this:

Oh yeah, I also enjoy drawing stick figures. 😛

In my journal, I frequently assess myself. Where I’m at in life. Am I making a difference. Am I moving forward or at a standstill. This keeps me in check of whether or not my goals need to be adjusted.

After the general first thought, I reflect on the things I’ve accomplished in recent times, and whether I’m happy with it. Here, I specifically list activities that I’ve been pursuing lately. I write down everything worth noting.

Lately? I’ve been pursuing photography (very amateur, but please do check out my Instagram or Facebook for my recent photos!). My goal here is to capture pictures at an perception not thought of before. I have also been spending a lot of time exploring my own backyard in the mountains, and have been doing lots of hikes with my younger siblings.  

In my reflections, I also give note to life lessons I’ve learned. I enjoy writing reflection blog posts on my discovery of things in life that I did not understand before. It’s amazing to see the cultural differences between my parents’ generation (raised in Vietnam) and my younger siblings’ generation (raised in the United States).

When I’m not pondering my recent accomplishments, I turn to my future. I list my goals, my to-do list, my list of things to improve on. This is usually where I write down my next steps in career, travel destinations, new recipes to try, things to research, etc.


Travel notes

  • Here, I jot down a bullet list of the things that happen while traveling- and especially, my thoughts and feelings on them. I find that when I’m writing about blogs, it’s more difficult to remember what I felt while traveling versus the technical detail (which a quick google search can refresh my memory on).
  • try to come up with a blogging schedule, but it’s easier said than done. I get into inspirations and would write a blog post.

10 Things I’m Thankful For

Something I’ve picked up over the years, is that when I’m down, writing a list of things I’m grateful for gives me more purpose.

  • Family and loved ones
  • I appreciate where I’m at now, and my awareness of myself, my culture, my surroundings
  • I appreciate my small town in the mountains (which I cared for before)
  • Autumn and the beautiful photo opportunities
  • Classical music (which I’ve been listening to a lot lately)
  • Books – currently reading the Kite Runner
  • Food – I’m hoping to bake a pie for the first time this fall- eep!
  • Writing/blogging – and especially my fellow blogging friends. <3
  • The ability to do the things that I love
  • My future

Thanks for reading! This year, we’ve been getting into the Halloween spirit. Ready to take my siblings to go trick or treating! What’s on your journal/itinerary? Cheers to another beautiful autumn. <3

Here are some posts you might like!

Travel Blogging Challenge- Week 7 (Inspiration for Traveling)

There are three types of people: those who travel, those who want to travel, and those who don’t, can’t, and never will.

At 23, I’m not quite a kid and not old. People around me are getting jobs, making families, buying houses, etc. I often think to myself… what have I done with my life? What brings me satisfaction?

I would like to share my philosophy and story on why I started traveling and what nudges me to keep doing so.

Life’s too short. Optimistically, I estimate I will live another 80 years (haha, bear with me). That’s not a lot of time. My family always tells me that that’s a weird outlook on life. I grew up in a small, majority-whites town where people go to retire. People are born, raised, and live their lives there. Unfortunately, a static life not a life for me. I left. Moved to Asia, traveled the United States, backpacked Central America, moved to New York. I feel that being stationary wastes what little time I have left, which leads me to my next point.

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I want to see and  do something new everyday. Like many other parents of travelers, my parents want a stable, happy, safe life. They were 110% against my traveling. They were refugees from Vietnam, fleeing the country from oppression and seeking a better place. I understand that they would want me to go to school, get a stable job, and live my life happily. I am forever thankful for what they’ve done and proud of how far they’ve come since leaving Vietnam. I can’t say how much I respect them for their decisions. If I had lived in my small town forever, I would know nothing. There’s a million and infinity things I don’t know out there, and I want to change that.  

Beneficial to my mind and body. Travel relieves my stress. It tells me my troubles aren’t that significant in the grand scheme of things. It shows me different sides to myself that I never knew, food that I never thought I’d like, people I’d meet, ordeals I’d surpass. I pushed my body to do crazy, amazing things while traveling more than I ever did while I was at home. It’s amazing.

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What am I saving money for? Nobody knows when they’re going to lose it all. When I lost phone and wallet on a rickety bus in Guatemala, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I realized that no matter how much I save, it would still be for naught if life takes it away in a whirl of wind. I save more money, pay more bills, save more, spend more, pay more bills. The cycle is never-ending! In my life, the only thing I’ve been happy to give my money for is to travel. I never regret spending anything on a trip out of town. Now, I save my money for travel and cultural foods around the world. 😉

If I don’t do it now, I might never do it! Goals change all the time. Today, I might love traveling, tomorrow, I might not. I might lose motivation, get lazy, change directions unexpectedly, die, etc. A few years ago, my bucket list had included going to the Amazon Forest. Today, I want to go on a cruise. I changed, because I don’t want to risk getting eaten by a giant snake, a fear I didn’t have a few years back. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but just a small missed opportunity. I just hope what I replace it with is a bigger jump for great adventures.

Share my travels. I’ve always loved traveling, even if alone. When I met my boyfriend, I experienced what it felt like to travel together. My horizons expanded. When I see/eat/go/read something great, I want to share it with my loved ones, and traveling is on the top of my things to share. It’s amazing to come home after a travel and cook the crazy dishes from around the world for my family to experience. I want so much to take my siblings to New York and show them how big the world can be.

My list of inspirations are endless. But that’s all for today, what are your inspirations in life and travel??? 

Hope to connect with you soon! Peace!

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Thanks for reading! This is a response to the 21 Weeks of Travel Blogging Challenge!

Interested in participating in the Weekly Travel Blogging Challenge? Feel free to make your own today!

Week 1:  A favorite travel photo of you and intro
Week 2: Little known tips
Week 3: Funny story
Week 4: Misadventures
Week 5: Top three cultural foods
Week 6: Unusual travel activities/photos
Week 7: Inspiration for traveling
Week 8: Five favorite travel blogs
Week 9: Gross/disgusting stories
Week 10: Best adventures while traveling
Week 11: What’s in your backpack?
Week 12: Happy and sad stories
Week 13: Unique cultures encountered
Week 14: Top three favorite destinations
Week 15: Travel regrets
Week 16: Scary and cool travel stories
Week 17: Things to purge
Week 18: Humbling things learned from traveling
Week 19: Confessions
Week 20: Travel bucket list (countries/activities)
Week 21: Your challenge post highlights and what you’ve learned during this challenge

These awesome people are also doing the challenge!!! Click to see their stories!

 

Guest Post: The Rewards and Challenges of Quitting Your 9-5 to Travel

I’ve always been fascinated by people who quit their jobs to live in another country, and would like to share stories of people who have created this path for themselves.

Today, we have Ares‘ honest reflection on how he quit his job, moved to another country, and found work.


At some point in our lives, we decide that we need to make a change. Whether that be work, lifestyle, diet, living accommodations, life choices – the list is endless. Some of us decide we need to completely immerse ourselves in another world, forgetting the past, and looking forward to find what we are looking for. That’s a fancy way of saying “we travel”.

In 2015, I decided I needed such a change. I wanted to experience something different. From climate, to work, to food. I wanted to immerse myself in the complete opposite of my day to day living in a big city. I didn’t just want to travel temporarily, I wanted to live it.

Portugal, here I come.

After months of planning (I’ll spare you the countless details that’s involved in an undertaking such as an international move), May had come, and I boarded a plane. All I had to my name was the clothes on my back, my laptop, and a credit card. I had quite literally sold everything else I owned, quit my job, bought out my lease, sold my car – I mean you name it, I sold it.

Now, before you think I am a complete loon, I should mention I have family here. Although I have only met them a couple of times. So I had a place to go, but that was it. I started by learning how to farm. We live in a small farming community, where we produce everything we need to survive. Going to the market only for carbohydrates and toiletries. The land is quite acidic, so we can only grow certain foods. Unfortunately, potatoes and rice simply do not take.

Farming under the hot sun was something completely new for me, and I took it in stride. By the end of the summer, I was loving it. Just me, the outdoors, and hard work. No phones ringing, no cubicle, no boss blowing up my inbox with issues. For the most part, I had unplugged.

When you come from a developed country such as Canada, and go into a more reserved part of the world, you truly get to see the differences. Not only between your country of origin and the destination, but how cultures differentiate from city to city.

After the summer, I took the train and starting hopping around the country doing day trips. Taking the first train at dawn, and returning on one of the last trains in the evening. When you arrive in a more modern city such as Lisboa (Lisbon), it is a completely other world. Yet, I was only 3 hours from home. Everyone speaks English, fiber internet, IMAX movie theatres, and fast food. It’s what we of today consider a modern society. So what about back home?

In my small town, just outside Viseu, you get a completely different take on things. Technology is almost non existent, as a result it is mainly elderly workers who are completely removed from the outside world. Most of them still use an 11” TV with satellite. It gets about 8 channels. All of Portugal’s infrastructure is shovelled into it’s two major cities, and tourist areas. The rest of the country gets left in the dust. The smaller towns are stuck in the proverbial 1980’s.

But these reserved farmers don’t seem to mind. At least, on the surface. Most of them want out of the EU, wishing to go back to the Escudo. Where as (frankly) the more educated people in the major cities, realize being part of the EU Alliance saved them. Slowly, Portugal is making its way out of crippling financial debt and corruption.

As a native English speaker, finding work was an ongoing challenge. You may be able to find seasonal work, but long term employment without speaking Portuguese is borderline impossible. The unemployment rate is not as bad as Spain or Greece, but it still proved difficult. In these smaller towns, they do not require resumes. All they want to know is if you say you attended X school, provide the certificate of completion. They don’t care where you worked before, or how much experience you have. Why?

Contracts are given out on a 1.5 year term. After 1.5 years, most are let go as the law requires they get paid a significant amount more. So the work is always available (for the Portuguese) but you never have job security. Again, this is something I discovered only resonates within the smaller towns. Porto and Lisboa all operate with a CV and you can work somewhere for life once hired. Much like the rest of the world.

I attended university instead to work on my communication and grammar, but the Latin language threw me for a loop, and I had a hard time grasping its concepts. When a language such as Portuguese does not directly translate to English, it’s most difficult. I can understand Portuguese now, but speaking it is an ongoing challenge.

After living the life of a Portuguese citizen (and becoming one), I recently landed back home in Canada. I got what I needed out the experience, but I realized it was time to come home and continue on the path of a Canadian. Maple syrup, bacon, beer, and poutine.

They say travel broadens the mind, and I would say that is true because you are forced to see and live through other cultures. You simply cannot travel, and remain in your comfort zone. If you board a plane and land in a 5 star resort, I’d say you’re relaxing. Travelling works in conjunction with the experience of a new.


Thanks for reading!! I’m always searching for inspirational & informational travel stories to feature. Please leave a comment or send an email to tell your tales! <3

Having Problems? Keep Calm and Throw a Blanket Over It!

From the creators of Adventure Time, the Bravest Warriors proves to be arguably one of the best shows of all time. It is a mini-episode series that is exclusively on Youtube’s Cartoon Hangover channel. In comparison to Adventure Time, the Bravest Warriors is set in the future and revolves around four teenage heroes-for-hire who warp through the universe, saving cute little aliens from danger.

Browse Catbug Products on Amazon here!

About halfway through the first season, Catbug- half cat, half ladybug- joins the gang of heroes in their mission. Despite being ten years old, he demonstrates a child-like, innocent attitude with extraordinary problem solving skills. The audience loved him so much that the creators decided to keep him as a permanent character, along with others such as jelly kid, paralyzed horse, Impossibear, Plum, Emotion Lord, and more.

A lot of the lines in the Bravest Warriors are nonsensical, but hilarious:

“Throw a blanket over it! Put a little fence around it!” – Catbug, trying to fix their problems

Here’s the video where Catbug tries to put out a growing radioactive substance by throwing a blanket over it! This episode is the absolute best, must watch!

Catbug’s ineffective, but adorable and hilarious, problem solving suggestion of throwing a blanket over it shows how some people deal with their problems.

What I liked: 

  • Cartoon for adults (and kids)!! Whereas Adventure Time is geared more towards kids, the Bravest Warriors is definitely darker and crazier. There’s a reason why it’s on Youtube’s Cartoon Hangover Channel. 😉
  • Tonsssss of humor. Completely random sequence of events happen for no apparent reason, the show still moves on. Each character has their own quirk, but works together to save the world.
  • Teaches some deep life lessons. As seen with Catbug and the blanket, throwing a blanket over your problems doesn’t help. Good try, though! I feel adequately prepared in the event that aliens take over our planet.
  • Time and space travel, battle monsters, meet new alien friends, what’s not to love?
  • The mini-episodes are only 6 minutes long; the episodes are highly addicting, and could easily be finished within a day!
  • CATBUG!!! I’ve spent countless of hours searching for videos and pictures of Catbug, even made my very own Catbug plush!

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Not so fond of: 

  • It can get a little overwhelming (if you’re not into this type of show).

Questions? Comments? Recommendations? Let’s chat belowwww! <3

A Response to the Daily Prompt: Blanket

Not Good Enough

I’m not good enough. 

There are days where negativity bullies its way in to haunt my mind, jabbing at my frustrations of things that I can’t control. It leaves me helpless, my thoughts trapped in a never-ending cycle of discouragement. My inability to do things with my life that I want to because I am restrained by society’s expectations. The incessant need to prove myself. The words that I can’t speak elegantly enough. The constant questioning of whether I’m a productive member of society. Whether I have become lazy. One thought after another, weight added onto my shoulders.

I fight to push these thoughts back. Watch a movie. Read a book. Talk to family. But it’s still there- lurking in the back of my consciousness. It doesn’t work. Gray as a heavy thundercloud right before a storm. The tension builds up so heavy with so many thoughts in my head that I want to explode.

I read somewhere that to be happy, one should write down 10 things they’re grateful for everyday. I’ve been doing that on and off for years. The first time I wrote, I only came up to six. The more I practice, the better I get at remembering the things that I’m thankful for. It’s easy to take for granted the things that you have and should appreciate. So, to cheer myself up today, here are 10 things I’m grateful for:

  1. Loved ones who are always supportive of who I am and what I do. Whether they know it or not, talking to them always makes me feel better. Supported. Loved.
  2. Independence and freedom to do the things I want to. I am not being forced to do anything I don’t want to.
  3. My health. I’m able to get up everyday. I’m healthy. I’m happy with my self image.
  4. Books and online educational resources that allow me to improve every day.
  5. Beautiful weather. I love seeing the flowers blossom in this time of year. I love hearing the rain prattle softly outside.
  6. A roof over my head, a bed to sleep on, and public transportation to get around.
  7. Food. Today, strawberry and rocky road ice cream, topped with a sliced banana.
  8. Music. Lately, it’s been slow jazz and classical.
  9. Coffee. I love drinking coffee on early mornings, with a book in my hand. <3
  10. This Blog gives me a sense of purpose. It gives me room to vent and think things through.

Regardless of how unfair it is, there are people out there having worst. Finally, I hear it. All the negativity… pouring from the sky like a torrent. The sky lightens up. All the pent up anger dissipates. The pouring of rain hides the tears of relief on my face. I’m free. 

So, let me ask you this. Can you come up with 10 things your thankful for in your life? 

Daily Prompt: Gray

Stop for a Moment: Get Off Your Phone

Ever since returning from Central America, I stepped out of a world where no one needed technology to a world where everyone is dependent on it. I want to share a couple of stories.

Story of my Life 1: As a backpacker, I loved my phone. I took all my photos on it. Ancient ruins, traditional clothing and cultures, foods, landscape- you name it. I used it to keep in touch with my family and friends. One day, on our way to a new destination in Guatemala, I reached for my phone in my backpack strap- it was gone. Time stood still. It felt like one of those horror movies, the moment where you realize going down the cellar was a huge mistake. I thought back to the last few hours. I racked my brain until I remembered that earlier the same morning, a friendly Guatemalan man had helped me lift my backpack to the overhead compartment on the bus. He must have felt through the pockets and grabbed my phone, along with all my money in it. How typical of a tourist can I get, letting a stranger handle my bag? I went through the rest of the trip without my brand new iPhone 6 and credit cards. In the chaos of my panic, I suddenly felt a strange calmness. I was jolted out of that world and the need to be constantly connected. No more distractions. I was not going to be that one person checking my Facebook every second, because I didn’t have the ability to. I can immerse myself in the beauty that I was surrounded by. I can actually listen to people who are talking to me. In the end, the only truly important items that I missed were my travel photos.

Story of my Life 2: After two years of not seeing each other, I have finally reunited with my close friend from college. We’ve known each other for 5+ years, sharing countless of memories with each other. We had so much in common: parents, interests, personalities, cultures, etc. I was really excited to see her. After weeks of planning our reunion and $200 spent for an entire weekend in a Hyatt hotel in downtown Atlanta. When it was finally time for us to hang out and catch up, it became glaringly apparent that she wouldn’t stop using her phone. I’m not being over-dramatic. She literally checked her phone every other minute, responding to her boyfriend or chatting up her hometown friend, who both have seen her a few days ago. I tried to engage her with questions about her life, enticed her with all the different things we could do with our night out, etc. She would talk to me absentmindedly and half heartedly, then checked her phone every so often. I suddenly realized that I was interrupting her time with her phone. I brought my concern to her attention, told her that I was upset. She insisted that she didn’t think it was a big deal, that I should have told her earlier, that I was over-reacting. I was heartbroken; it was so unfair. It has now been almost a year since I have spoken to her. I took it to heart never to get carried away with my nose stuck in a device that I don’t see the people around me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. Without it, I would be very lost- literally and figuratively. Luckily, my body has a very natural way of preventing me from getting too technology dependent.  I get a headache from staring at an electronic screen for too long. I think that everything should be enjoyed in moderation. When you can’t control your urge to check your phone every 2 minutes, it becomes a problem.

  1. You become rude to people around you. Are you really even spending time together at that point?
  2. You become reliant. When used excessively, the devil’s box ensnares the mind. Just like the moment I realized I lost my phone. People don’t know how to cope without it. Technology, used excessively, dulls the mind, making it inept. How can you learn or remember anything when a quick Google search answers the question? It kills the curiosity that drives people.
  3. You become constantly unmotivated and distracted. When was the last time you read a book without being interrupted by the buzz of your phone and a quick Facebook check-in? Are you playing video games through the night and neglecting your dinner? Do you binge-watch TV shows on Netflix?

What am I going to do now that I get off my phone? Surprisingly, not all people in NYC glue their faces to their phones in the subway. They do a variety of things- listen to music, read, or just sit and relax before/after a day of work. In a fast-paced, high efficiency environment, I figured they learned that it is a good balance in life.

  1. Spend time with people. They’re much more interesting in person than on your chat box, I promise.
  2. Read. It might be cliched, but reading is awesome in many ways: improves focus, jogs memory, expands imagination, relaxes the mind, and takes you on an adventure! You then can talk to people about it.
  3. Play an instrument. Whenever I’m overwhelmed with work, TV, life, I like to switch gears and play some music. I play the same chords on the ukulele with every song. It’s not hard to learn. It’s just nice to hear something real once in awhile. I also like to sing. 
  4. Take a walk. I’m not a very active person on a daily basis (though I should be), but I love taking a refreshing walk once in awhile.
  5. Board games. We have an entire shelf stacked up to the ceiling of board games hoarded from over the years. Play them!

I recently bought my little brother a Minecraft Book Series Boxset for his birthday. If you have any kids in your family, you’ll know that they are obsessed with Minecraft. At the time, the box set competed with Pokemon plush toys, cool gadgets, and new clothes. As months passed by, all his toys became boring and he began to read the books. Through them, his imagination was able to expand. He still reads and re-reads them because he loves the world so much. It was not video games, but his imagination had taken place of his other senses. Imagination is the most powerful thing you have and it must be nurtured. 

I’m still trying to teach my little brother and sisters to take enjoyment in doing other things than technology. Learning to balance relationships, self, and technology is very important in happiness. Don’t let your phone take control of you. You take control of it.

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