Last weekend was one of the best I've had in ages, as my Dad and I went camping to Ilam, Derbyshire. It was a weekend of walking, eating, bike riding and getting to grips with Dad's new T5 California camper. All in all, a great weekend, and it provided me with a well-deserved break from (seemingly) never-ending revision.
However, we couldn't help feeling cut off from the rest of the world. Don't get me wrong, I love the countryside, and I'd probably choose it over a noisy, bustling city any day, but what I don't love is the sense of isolation. And guess what this was all down to? That little message in the top left corner of your phone display.. 'No Service'.
Sad, I know. But this weekend has proved that technology and Internet have quite literally become a necessity in our lives. And it wasn't just the inability to send a text that was frustrating us, there were so many things we couldn't do! Most of which we probably take for granted on a daily basis.
For example, my Dad had planned to sit and sift through his emails when we arrived at the campsite, having left the office early in order to pick me up. But an hour into the journey and complete lack of signal or data connection meant this looked unlikely.
Next, finding a pub for tea. Instead of looking on Google maps, we had to actually ASK the people running the site of the nearest place to eat. Preposterous, I know. Nevertheless we found one, but I can safely say Google maps would've provided us with one more suited to us - but I'll save that for another post.
Filling out my food diary on MyFitnessPal after dinner wasn't happening either, with absolutely zilch date connection. Much to my surprise, the pub/hotel we ate at didn't even have WiFi. I mean, I thought that'd pretty much be a certainty in this day and age. But then again, maybe that reflects my own personal reliance on the Internet and such like.
Upon leaving the pub we were tipped off by the barman that we'd be able to get a few bars of signal in the car park. We literally rushed outside and started waving our iPhones in the air for dear life. YES. 2 bars of signal, it wasn't perfect but it was good enough for us! Beaming, we picked up emails, checked Facebook and Twitter, and I updated my food diary. Along with sending fraught texts to people along the lines of "Shit signal everywhere, don't panic we're not dead!" Excessive? Maybe. Necessary? Definitely.
After standing in the car park clutching our devices for a good 10 minutes or so, we decided to head back to the campsite, watching as the little white bar dropped and dropped, before eventually going completely.
Setting off on our bike ride the next morning, I slid my phone into it's carrier attached to the centre of my handlebars (too far?) and watched it literally come alive as we rode through areas of good signal; texts, emails, notifications, tweets. I'd never felt so popular.
We stopped at various places for breaks (even though I think they were more phone breaks than refuelling, etc) and eventually reached a lovely little pub, where we sat outside in the sun and had dinner. To our delight, it was a signal hotspot, and so ensued about an hour and a half of fairly silent web-browsing, putting our phones down only to eat.
This weekend really has made me realise that I am probably far too reliant on my phone and iPad. But then again, isn't everyone? On the journey home I started to think of ways I could wean myself off them, but as you can probably guess from this post, I never finished that dialogue with myself.