Digital Detox Day & Long Distance Cycling Tours

Tomorrow is National Unplugging Day, also widely known as Digital Detox Day. Who would have ever thought a decade ago, that the media, especially social media, would be popularizing a day on which to unplug – from amongst other things – the media itself.

And no wonder. Report after report are now coming out detailing how the omnipotent smart phone, or as I will call it from now on the ‘medium’, is actually decreasing our enjoyment of life. The problem has reached such proportions that ‘wellness’ centres are marketing themselves as places to detox, not from poisons consumed through food, air and water but rather to detox from digital ‘noise’.

Well, we at TDA always love to capture the big wave and are certainly not above following trends so allow me to propose to you that long distance cycling tours are the best way to detox from your abysmal digital habit. However, before I do that, I need to warn you that as someone who only uses a smart phone when I travel overseas, I can’t say I will be objective in my analysis.

Long Distance Cycling Forces You To Change Habits

Habits are hard to get rid of. That is why they are called habits. We all actually love our habits otherwise we would not be habituated to habits. The first thing that happens when you get on a bike knowing that you will not be sleeping in the same place each night is that old habits go sailing out of the window.

To Detox In One Day Is An Oxymoron

Habits, by their very nature, take a long time to develop…and take even longer time to overcome. The idea that one can kick a habit in one day is preposterous. However, on a bike trip lasting weeks and even months, your chance of reaching Nirvana and conquering your habit is much higher than it would be if you were still back home.

Roaming Charges Cost A Lot

Anyone who travels knows that data roaming charges can kill you. Going on a long distance ride in another country can act as a great motivator to not use your phone. It is just way too costly. Spending money on nothing (i.e. roaming) is crazy. Ditch the phone and use the money you save towards your next long distance cycling experience.

While The World Is Infinite In Its Glory, Internet Connectivity Is Much Less So

Another reason why it is best to detox on long distance cycling tours is the fact that, more often than not, in the ‘off the beaten track’ places where you end up sleeping – campsites, cheap hotels or ‘Shithole countries’ – the internet, if it exists at all, is slow, intermittent and often futile.

The Impact Of Detox Can Be Visible Almost Right Away

The purpose of a detox is to reduce stress, to improve social interaction and heighten your connection with nature. On long distance cycling trips, the minute you get on a bike and leave your comfortable habit-forming home behind, you will find yourself becoming more and more in tune with your surroundings. The reduction of stress follows naturally.

The Medium Is The Message

On long distance cycling trips you are bound to interact socially, both with locals and with your fellow riders. The more you connect on a personal level with these individuals, the less you will think about the ‘medium’. In other words, your ‘medium’ changes from a smart phone to the people around you. While we are on the subject of the ‘medium’ please remember that it was a Torontonian by the name of Marshall McLuhan who coined the phrase – ‘the medium is the message’. Change your ‘medium’, change yourself. Dump the smart phone and pick up a bicycle.

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