Reflections on Connections

Divisive Devices

In my Internet wanderings this week I stumbled across a remarkable statistic; 35% of British Columbians would prefer to give up their spouse for the day than go without their smartphone.

This little nugget is from a recent study released by BC Hydro that looks into our relationships with our devices.

“A new study conducted by BC Hydro suggests smartphone users might be more addicted to their phones than they think.” Kendra Mangione CTV

They say that the average British Columbian spends nearly a third of their waking hours on their phone. In fact, in recent years psychologists have begun to diagnose a condition called Nomophobia; a genuine fear of being separated from your phone. It affects roughly half of British people surveyed, and two thirds of Americans.

How important is your smartphone?

Smartphones are an essential tool for a lot of us. Living on the other side of the Atlantic to my family means I’m constantly checking Whatsapp, and just like every other millennial I posted to Instagram and scrolled through my Facebook feed daily.

Then I moved to Maurelle.

It took a few hours to stop reaching for my phone, and another couple to leave it behind in the ‘office.’ If it weren’t for the amazing scenery, which demands the occasional photo, my phone would have spent all summer there gathering dust. In our connected world, sometimes we need a little nudge to put our phones down. With no wifi router and out of the range of cell towers, Maurelle is the perfect place to disconnect for a while. Our base camp is just the right level of isolated; we have VHF radios to connect us to other Maurellians and even the Coastguard in the event of an emergency. This is a unique opportunity to unplug from our personal devices in a beautiful wilderness location, reassured that the outside world is only a quick radio call away.

Being uncontactable is great. Those bothersome work emails, overeager texts from your aunt, and incessant reminders to look at you friends’ cute baby pictures on Facebook, can all wait until you get home, leaving you free to relax and enjoy your vacation.

Dare to Disconnect

Disconnecting from our phones allows us to reconnect with nature, each other, and ourselves. Multiple studies have shown that our ever increasing smart phone usage decreases our attention span, and we become unable to focus on any one thing for a significant amount of time. I found that once I stopped checking my phone for notifications that weren’t coming I could properly experience all that our beautiful coastline has to offer. It takes time and patience to catch a glimpse of the porpoises swimming past, or to fully appreciate the sunset over the bay. This relaxed state of mind enables me to better reflect on the amazing things we experience everyday on Maurelle. Some things; kayaking alongside seals, the still water of the Okisollo Channel on a calm day, the majestic old growth forest, deserve your full attention. On the island I am a more mindful, less anxious, and altogether happier person. And it’s not just me. This summer I have really enjoyed watching our guests begin new and build on old friendships. From singing songs around the fire (thanks Rick!), to lounging in the hot tub laughing with people who were strangers only a day before, via hilarious family card games on the deck, people here can connect face to face.

by Kat Osei-Mensah