Venturing Off the Grid

Rachel Swartz - Ecuador


August 1, 2014

My Mother and I are currently stuck at Kansas International Airport on our way back home to Seattle. At this point we’ve been waiting for 2 hours due to “Tornado Warnings in Denver” whatever that means…

I’ve always enjoyed sitting in Airports, there is something special about people-watching when you travel. Perhaps because we are more inclined to fall witness to the raw emotion- such as loved ones rejoicing, or the tears of those waving goodbye. I would always love traveling alone because it allowed opportunities to both hear and share stories. Stories that usually start with the phrase- “Going home? Or leaving home?”

However lately, as I look around the terminal all I see is technology. How do I ask someone that question when there eyes are glued to a screen… I guess you don’t. And maybe to them that’s the point.

Everyone just looks too busy being somewhere other than where they are, they don’t take the time to notice what’s around them.

How many devices can you spot?

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I counted 14

That’s one of things I look forward to the most when I think about going to a place like Senegal, with minimal access to Wifi or other reliable means for internet. There is less of an urgency about being off the grid.. Not as much need for instant gratification, and I am excited for that. There are more opportunities to be present and enjoy the presence of those around you.

Connections are formed face-to-face, not screen-to-wire-to-screen.

When you are sitting at a bus stop or waiting for a crosswalk to give the “GO AHEAD” there is no immediate need to check FaceBook, Instagram, or even your illustrious TwitterFeed for the latest gossip about who’s doing what to who and whatever. But instead look at your surroundings, and fully immerse yourself.

My Dad would always tell my brother and me, “be where you are”, and I am just now learning what that really means.

Are you being where you are?

Rachel Swartz