I’ve come back to my blog after 2 glorious months away traveling. I’ve been to 7 countries, rode quad bikes all over the island of Santorini, drank sangria and hiked along the Costa Brava in Spain, took a boat cruise through the canals of Amsterdam, drank cocktails on rooftops in NYC, got lost in the endless streets of mansions in New Orleans, explored old quaint villages in England, met my boyfriend’s family and friends had him meet mine and didn’t blog about one second of it.
But all of that material and content. Those photos must be amazing. Those are spots a lot of people would love to have some tips for. That is like a blogger’s heaven.
A funny thing happened to me on the course of this trip. One that I’ve talked about before and continues to tug aggressively at my heartstrings. I realized even more deeply that offline is now our greatest luxury. I think it is far more tantalizing for someone to hop over to the Maldives and not plaster it on their Insta story, Live Youtube channel and have 4 blog posts written before they even leave. Oh yeah, I’ve been to Barcelona this summer too! But I couldn’t tell from your social account… But Susie, it’s your JOB.
It is my job. But it is also my job to question my satisfaction constantly. It’s my job to color outside the lines. Just because you start building an online business doesn’t mean you should all of sudden be blind to the strong emotional and psychological ties we all are forming to our individual devices and technology as a whole. I can’t pretend I don’t feel it. I can’t pretend that I don’t see it changing our world, our youth and our relationships. As usual, when I feel something I can’t keep my mouth shut about it.
My heart and soul seriously struggles with the fact that as an online business owner it is my job to stay connected. It is my job to constantly share, create content, engage my audience, come up with clever captions, content, free resources and recipes and basically rewrite and translate the Bible (on Facebook live) while traveling in a foreign land–not to mention 365 days a year. When you start out with your own business, you don’t have someone to do it for you. And consistency is key if you want the algorithm to work in your favor. You’ll lose followers. You have to remain relevant. This doesn’t feel like freedom to me.
For most online business owners or entrepreneurs the only reason they CAN travel is because they have built up their online businesses. They have the flexible schedule, the funds, the capability to travel because of it. It doesn’t take away that fact that it detracts from actually living in the present moment and fully experiencing what these countries and destinations have to offer. Can you do both? Of course. Have I done both? Yes. And I will continue to…
BUT… life and especially travel experiences allow for us to come back to our work refreshed, rejuvenated and with a heightened sense of purpose. All my best ideas happen when I’m unplugged. If you never switch off, even while you are traveling, how can you actually expect these experiences to deeply penetrate you? How can you expect to broaden your horizons, change your perspective and actually learn something about the world? I can’t count the amount of people I saw in exotic, historic, fabulous locations glued to their smartphone in a trance. Why do you care about watching Sally from middle schools Snapchat story of your hometown bar when you are lying on the beach in Greece!?
Many bloggers or online business owners feel as if they CAN’T take a break. But if you tell me that you want to be free of the chains of a cubicle or a 9-5 and you can’t not look at your cell phone or laptop for 48 hours, something does not add up. That simply doesn’t sound like freedom to me.
So, is this my farewell to social media and blogging forever? Absolutely NOT! I love blogging, I love social media and my online business and communities. I can’t picture my life without them BUT I urge you to keep a handle on your reliance on your technology. Allow yourself that permission to unplug, allow yourself seasons in your creation and creativity. No flower blooms in every season. You have to actually live your life, make mistakes, travel and experience the world in order to write about it. You have to have ups and downs in your fitness journey in order to empathize and guide someone through navigating their own. You have to watch that sunset and not automatically reach for your camera. You have to lose track of time and space.
Will you hear the tales of my last two months of traveling with my boyfriend? Absolutely. But I will share them now, with hindsight, perspective and a clear mental palate knowing that I fully dove deep into living my life and experiencing that freedom that we all work so hard to have. And there are so many things that you will never see, or feel or touch because I will keep them with me in my heart and memory, to return to at a later date or laugh at with my loved ones. Because that is why we travel in the first place– to make those experiences our own…not just to look at photos of them on Instagram.
Because the luxury these days is not having the perfect Instagram worthy experience and getting thousands of likes on it- the luxury is truly experiencing your life and not needing one ounce of external technology to be involved in that present moment. The luxury is removing the FOMO and anxiety of missing things by simply living in the place you are with the people right in front of you. The luxury is having the capability to draw the line- despite a lack of profit, followers, consistency for the sake of LIVING YOUR LIFE. Offline is a new luxury- I dare you to indulge a bit and see how it tastes.