You will find anything and everything on the Internet about the joyous epiphanic experience of going off-grid. And I am sure those people are absolutely telling the truth about how their smart-phones have made them dumb, and how without a phone and internet, everything is more sorted and their vision gets clearer.
I bow down to such men and women who manage to get through hours and days without hearing from their loved ones and telling them about their day. I might have come out of the experience with a rather different and unpopular set of emotions, but here they are. Unabashed, truthful and sincere.
Things I realized after staying without a mobile signal for 36 hours.
You have unknowingly fallen in love with your mother's consistent calls.
Especially when I am out of station traveling, she makes sure I am responsive on both WhatsApp and calls, telling her I am fine. Over and over and over again. This gets at times, slightly intrusive and always a bit irritating. But when I was off-grid, on a treacherous road to a place I have not even seen clearly in pictures, I wanted to be asked.."are you fine?"
You really want to tell stories.
Relationships are woven around narratives. Of past, present and future. The exercise of picking the phone and dialing your best friend's number, hearing it ring waiting eagerly to hear her voice only to then hear yourself crib/talk endlessly, is priceless. And it's not seeking validation (what hipsters will call it), it's just how story telling works. And in a modern society, I unfortunately consider a phone the most convenient way to do so.
You realize how far you are.
Many times the distance traveled is not entirely realized, the kms become milestones. The journey becomes more about the destination and less about the travel to it. So when your and everybody's phone has turned useless at 14,000 ft, there comes a moment of sublime realization. One moment you are occupied in settling at your camp, and the other you stare right up, at the Milky Way shining bright and hits you like a rewarding surprise: "I am really far from home."
You start to also hallucinate (not literally).
Imagining your loved ones, your partner and friends sitting in the car with you sharing a joke you understand, alluding to an incident that happened when you were together last, pointing to that funny rock on the way. The possibility of you sitting and smiling by yourself will sky-rocket as you will subconsiously incorporate your favorite people into your experiences. Since you can't reach them, you bring them right next to you.
You will enjoy it.
Irrespective of the sweet destructive dependency we have on technology and how proudly addicted we are to instant gratification, the experience of zero connectivity feels relieving. When you forget the damage no news of you will be causing at home, you start enjoying the utter uselessness of the smartphone, watching it amusingly turn into a 90's Nokia which had only Snake for your entertainment.
And then you finally get to see those bars coming alive, the E slowly growing up to become an H+, and the world is again at your disposal. When you actually do receive that first call, the voices will sound sweeter and your heart will swell up with gratitude. Not just because you have the privilege of listening to your loved ones whenever you want to, but also because you have someone waiting on you. Waiting on you to get back to the chaotic place we call home.