How long could you go for without social media?
Hands up I confess I’m an addict. Be it Facebook, Instagram, Line or Twitter I love a bit of social nosiness. But it’s not just nosiness (although that has a great deal to do with it if I’m being honest), since becoming an expat I have become increasingly reliant on it for most of my interactions with friends and family. Gone are the days of letters and phone calls, it’s all instant messaging and photo sharing.
On my recent trip to mainland China I decided to try and find out how long I could last without my daily fixes. If you are confused as to why traveling to mainland China and connectivity issues are related then a quick google search for ‘The great Firewall’ will enlighten you sufficiently.
I could have bought a VPN subscription to bypass the great firewall but the more I considered it the more I became determined to try. I almost lost my resolve when I found out that WordPress was also on the list of dishonour, but as hubby has a VPN ( he’s there working for 3 months not just a measly 6 days so going without reliable connection to ‘the outside’ for him is out of the question ), I figured if I REALLY couldn’t manage I could always hijack his connection for an hour or so.
The fact that just the thought of going google-less ( as well as all the other things) for such a short time was worrying me was actually an incentive to try and do it. We are so connected these days, but the need for instant gratification and information is almost all consuming at times so it was time to try and take a vacation the old fashioned way and tell people about my trip when I came back.
So how did I get on ?
Well it wasn’t easy and there were times when I was cursing my decision ( like when I couldn’t find a decent map of the city, and when my total lack of mandarin speaking left me floundering and googling would have been so much easier ), but I didn’t crack. Not even a sneaky look at Facebook when hubby got in from work.
But the day to day business of my trip made me realise how much we ‘momentise’ our lives. Walking around seeing unfamiliar and amusing things and framing them in terms of a tweet or a status update, taking a picture and instantly thinking how we can hashtag it on Instagram.
During the week I made a series of notes to remind myself of key thoughts or events I may want to draw on for blogging and as I was doing this I realised that what I was actually doing was updating my status and tweeting without sending.
I’m not really sure if I learned anything about myself from this other than what I already kind of knew;
My name is Hillywilly and I’m a social network addict.
I lasted 149 hours without a social media fix.
But by heavens, it’s good to be back.
My week in unsent social media;
Just sent my last Facebook update before flying behind the great firewall. Wuhan here I come.
Not really what you want to see at the airport just before you board…. What the…..???
Despite widespread mutterings in the terminal no panic on the ground and smoke now clearing. Time to board then…
Properly I will never* complain about it being too warm in Thailand again. I’m B*****d freezing. We’ve come from a fairly consistent 30degrees to a horribly rainy 6.
(*until its mid burning season and 41 anyway )
Small one can barely move due to the number of layers she’s wearing. Her slipper boots are a triumph of warmth over style but she has just declared she never taking them off.
Taking in the spectacle and wonder of a truly foreign city would be much more spectacular and wonderful if I didn’t have a running commentry of sighs and ‘so what’s’ accompanying me.
Wuhan. Taking onesiewearing to the next level #carrefour #shoppinginpyjamas
WHY are cucumber flavour crisps not a thing everywhere? #gamechanger
My Husband and child do not share my enthusiasm. More for me !
When the biggest quandary of the day is deciding if you like the steam room more than the sauna while sitting in the hotel hot tub you know it’s been a good day.
Getting used to the cold ……. Kind of
High end shopping with hubby. Just passed a Junior Versace store.
Small person scored big time shopping with daddy. ( not in junior Versace ) Big persons feet are still too big for Asia it seems 😦
To add insult to injury I’m getting emails from Facebook and Twitter telling me I have pending notifications.
Family spa night abandoned as ‘spa is closed for males’
Starting the day with a bubble bath is both a wonderful and terrible thing.
I made the horrifying discovery that I have nasal hair.
Scary big man type nasal hair. WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN? I look like the BFG!!
Is there anything more painful than tweezing nose hair. Painful but necessary.
I still look like the BFG, just slightly less hairy.
Dragging an extremely reluctant small person out sightseeing this afternoon.
A small white person looking through binoculars at the view across the Yangtze River is getting more photographed than the view across the Yangtze River.
Found a random flower festival in front of a magnificent building ( as yet unknown)
Had to have an emergency stop in mcD’s to get some wifi and try ( in vain) get a proper map of the city. Guess NONE of the cabbies know ANY PLACE ‘over the bridge’.
Finally back at the apartment. 3 hours standing in the cold to find a cabbie who had a clue where we were going. It was around a 10 minute drive. Small one refuses to go exploring with me again.
Completely shattered. My feet officially hate me.
Sounds like the man on the digger outside the hotel has finished his digging. At last. Only another 3 and a bit hours till he gets to start again.
Ah. Rain then. Cold cold rain.
Very excited. Off to the Han Theatre to see what hubby’s been up to for the last couple of months.
Unfortunately I’m not allowed to give anything away about what’s going on inside the building, but WOW!!
It may have its issues but it’s stunning. Very proud of my boy.
Finally got some real proper Chinese food. Glorious handmade dumplings and chow mien to die for. That little back street noodle joint must have had a good few months since the production crew found it, and deservedly so.
The little man was both delighted and slightly hysterical watching moo using a hastily rustled up spoon to eat her noodles after a valiant effort with chopsticks.
I can feel a blister on my little toe. Probably shouldn’t have worn my brand new boots ( shoes in my size-in Asia-squee!) for a shopping excursion on Han Street but apparently my trainers have a leak. #wetsocks
Oh the profound joy at finding a western toilet at just the right moment. #notsquat
A serendipitous coffee stop. Walked into Starbucks just as hubby was ordering his dinner break cuppa. #makeminealatte
No transport drama tonight. Time for tea then hot tub methinks.
My feet have gone from simple hatred of me to outright loathing. Oh how they long to be back in flip flops.
Ah China. Where even the simplest of internet related tasks are made hugely difficult. #onlinecheckinfail
Lunch with hubby again 🙂 #makingthemostofit
Small person going lego crazy in the mall #makingthemostofit
Back at the apartment to pack. While I shall miss hubby for the next 3 weeks I’m looking forward to seeing the sun again. And the sky for that matter.
Someone out to catch some dinner. Literally. ( not for us!)
Finally finished packing. Only had to buy one extra case. #oops
Rather spectacular thunderstorm going on right now. Hope its over by take off time.
Arrived at airport for check-in. Have to wait another hour before we are allowed in.
Free airport wifi, great.
Oh you have to have a Chinese mobile number to register, not so great.
Checked in, through security to quite possibly the worst provisioned departure lounge. Oh well, coffee on the plane then.
It’s not a bus people. You don’t just get to pick where you sit. See that number on your boarding pass that says ‘seat number’. It’s a bit of a clue.
SIT DOWN! You can’t just get up and wander about when we are on the way to the runway. You just can’t. Ok? Ok.
I can see sky. Hello sky, I’ve missed you.
Bugger bugger bugger bugger.
Swapped seats with small one halfway through the flight. Failed to remember to check my original seat pocket as I left the plane. 1 lost purse. #seat20B #iamanidiot
Air Asia staff are my new heroes. Hurried to my connecting gate in DMK and reported my stupidity. Check in staff called the landing gate and had the plane checked (twice!) until my purse was found. Thank you thank you thank you.
With apologies to the passengers en route to Wuhan who were delayed ( only slightly) because some idiot had to have the plane searched.
The most glorious sunset for our arrival home. Thank you Mother Nature #welcomehome
I’m almost reluctant to get back online. Almost. Unpacking and a g&t first I think. And flip flops. Definitely flip flops.
There will be more of my Wuhan wanderings in due course (and in more detail!), but for now its time to go and check my Facebook page.
Jer Gan Mài