Antartica: No Internet, No Problem.

I recently was fortunate to take a journey to the end of the world, literally. I took a boat to Antartica, our southern continent. This blog post isn’t about the amazing things I saw (although, quick shout outs to the thousands of penguins I saw, and dozens of Orca and Humpback whales.) This is about the opportunity I had to truly disconnect.

There was actually internet on the boat – at the cost of about $100 for 100MB or something ridiculous like that. I wasn’t sure how I would be without the internet, but it turns out that no Internet isĀ  livable (versus slow Internet, which is just a tease… like “Hey! I’m sorta loading this page. But not. Internet time out. Just kidding! Loading again!”)

I feel like people always tell you to disconnect so that you can connect with people face to face. I still chose to sit in my cabin and read a lot of books. I spent plenty of time walking around on the deck, getting fresh air and checking on the birds following our expedition boat. I joined the daily lectures (when I wasn’t battling dizziness due to sea sickness) on seals, whales and penguins and sat amongst the other passengers. But, during my time on the ship, I completed 5 books on my list. I wrote daily in my journal and just contemplated on all the amazing things I see.

The thing about constantly being connected to the world is that I always felt like I was missing out on something – another country to visit, another thing I wasn’t doing or excelling in. Instagram was filled with images of beautiful people doing Cirque du Soleil level yoga poses, people traipsing around the globe every weekend without being tied to their heavy mortgages, luxury jobs, luxury planes, luxury lives.

To be fair, this isn’t the fault of social media completely. Part of it is due to my own personal will and the constant need to push myself. I’ve met many people who are type A and are completely functional. As a reformed type A person, a part of me still feels the need to strive for more. But a part of me needs to realize that comparing myself will never make me happy. A part of me needs to just enjoy the things that I have. There is nothing wrong with self improvement. Nothing wrong with looking to others for inspiration. Nothing wrong with having goals in life. But when it comes with a caveat that I will not be happy until I am there, then I will forever remain unhappy. This is a constant struggle for me and I just need to remind myself that I am where I need to be.

[Photo credit: Minty, a Singaporean friend we made on the expedition ship. Standing at the top of a hill after a 30 minute hike up Neko Harbour, Antarctica.)