Hello, my name is Yvonne, I’m addicted to the Internet. The last thing I’m doing every evening is checking my Emails on my phone. And in the morning, when I open my eyes, it’s the first thing I do. With some friends I’m intravenously connected through the Internet. I’m fine with having no connection when riding the U2 in Berlin between Gleisdreieck and Eberswalderstraße. Or when I’m on a plane. I don’t spend every single minute in the net, but when my router crashes, I feel amputated. And not only because I do need it to earn money. Often it’s just that I don’t want to miss something.
But since a while there are days, sometimes even two in a row, when I take some time “off”, going offline. Because I know it does feel good.
This is due to my trip to Mongolia last year. Three weeks of trekking, sleeping in tents without electricity. Fine, no problem. There’s no Internet? HOW will I survive this? THIS was my major challenge.
Although I don’t look like it I really enjoyed camping.
After 110,5 hours, nearly 5 days I felt the first withdrawal symptoms. Yes, I also thought it wouldn’t take that long. But to be honest, I could have beard it longer. If not, well, we’ve stayed at a Ger Camp for one night. And my fellow travellers told me there’s Internet. I do remember exactly how my heart skipped a beat.
We were having dinner and (I will just call him like this) Horst said: And? Did you go online yet?
Panic. THERE’S INTERNET HERE? Should I? Shouldn’t I? And what if I just write a quick Email to my parents? Have a quick look on Facebook, Twitter, my blog? What if my blog is offline since days? AHHHH. Quickly! Distract me! Tell me something! Anything!
Two hours later I was sitting in my yurt and asking myself, why I didn’t gave in to my addiction. Was I scared that an Email would ruin my day? That the connection would be so bad I couldn’t even check my Emails? Would this have made me even more nervous? All wrong. I mean, yes, ok, this was part of it. But actually, actually, I felt like betraying myself. I wanted adventure, be away from everything. If I connect to the Internet now, I would bring the “other” world to Mongolia. And this would feel weird.
If I do give in now, I’m not better than these German tourists on Majorca, complaining about when there’s no Schnitzel on the menu.
I’ve learnt how to listen to nature’s call in nature. How to put up a tent during a storm (ok, I’ve bribed the drivers with cigarettes) and I’m so proud of my feet, which are carrying me since 5 days through the desert Gobi. I CAN’T give in now.
There will be more days sleeping in tents, without electricity, without a shower. We will eat under the open sky, will warm ourselves with Vodka and every morning we will put on our trekking shoes and start walking. Into the sweep of the horizon.
Where clouds are hanging low because the horizon is so sweep, where cliffs are glowing red and kids have the wise expressions of old people.
A country I haven’t really arrived to yet. I don’t want to go back, not even for a second. Two weeks left.
Three days later I should dream of the Internet for the first time. I was reading an Email of a friend in which he was complaining that I haven’t replied since weeks. Two nights later I’ve met a friend in my dreams but there are no words in my mouth when I wanted to ask her what’s happening in the online world. I can’t even ask her to tweet about how I nearly got killed by wolves (ok, I’m exaggerating a bit).
After two weeks I start thinking about how it will be when we’re back in Ulan Bator and with this, back in the Internet world.
Will I take a shower first or check my Emails before this? Shall I lay down on the bed or sit at the desk?
It feels a bit like when I was a kid, the days before my birthday, when I was thinking about how the cake will taste and which present I will unwrap first.
When we finally got to Ulan Bator, I could feel the “being addicted thing” for the first time to the full extent. We’re at the hotel. I know the WiFi is fast. Nearly as fast as I’m on my room. But my backpack. Where’s my backpack? Beads of sweat on my forehead. Why is the luggage guy taking that long? I want. I open the door and rush out. There it is. My backpack. Without waiting. Without a look around. I grab my bag, go back to my room and close the door.
Alone. I don’t want to be disturbed by someone. No one.
My hands are shaking a bit when I open my computer. What will expect me? What have I missed? I don’t feel good. Do I have a fever? I feel cold and hot.
Here we go. 554 unread Emails. 72 Facebook notifications. Aaaand action: here we go… I’m back in the “real” world. It takes about an hour before I start to feel better. The world didn’t collapse. It was just me being offline. And didn’t it feel good?
Since then I do it more and more often. Not for weeks, but for some hours, days. And it always feels pretty good.
What do you think? Could you survive three weeks without Internet?