Open, close. Open, close. Open, close. My eyes are slowly adjusting to the sun that is rising outside the hotel window. It takes me a while to realise that I don’t have to jump up and study or prepare for yet another job interview. We came to Vienna to celebrate the end of what had been some very busy months. I reach for my phone to check the time and immediately feel uneasy. E-mails, messages and breaking news.
I study journalism and write about travel when I’m not (or when I should be) studying, so I rarely go anywhere without my computer. But this time, I deliberately decided to leave it at home. I didn’t want to be bothered with anything not related to Vienna or to time off with my favourite person. Great plan, I thought. It only took me one morning to realise that leaving the computer at home wasn’t going to cut it.
“Don’t worry about it”, I told myself and slid the phone far enough away, that I’d have to get out of bed to reach it. This is not how I wanted to start this trip so I turn over and try to fall back to sleep. But the thought that is building up in my head really bugs me: There is no time off.
I left my computer at home and I ignored the little red circles on the app-icons. But as the numbers in the circles rose, so did the pressure I felt. And by that I don’t mean the need to answer the e-mails and messages but the annoying and uncomfortable realisation that it is seemingly impossible to separate the positive aspects of having a smart phone with you from the negative aspects of the small computer inside it. I do think that it is, in many situations, a great advantage to have a smart phone with you, especially while travelling. It’s extremely practical to have a tiny photo and video camera with you at all times and I personally love that I can pull up a map when I’m lost or call for help or comfort should an emergency arise – it provides a certain sense of security.
The problem, in my opinion is, however, that making use of these advantages automatically includes taking your work with you. Even though you ignore it, it’s still a constant reminder that there’s a lot on your plate when you get home and I find that both annoying and exhausting.
When on a trip that is not work related, do we really need to be constantly reachable for anyone else than our closest family and friends?*
* Whose messages and calls are never a burden, but always a pleasure.
There must be a better way than leaving the phone and thereby its many advantages at home entirely. What do you think? Share your thoughts, tricks and opinions with us in the comments below