I looked across the carriage and I was struck by the sight that 16 people had mobile phones, 16 iPhones appeared to be superglued into 32 hands. I looked down. I was one of them.
Being connected all the time seems normal. My wife says I can’t help but always check my phone, she’s probably right.
No, ok, she’s certainly right.
If I’m lost, how do I know where to go? No problem, I just grab my phone and it can guide my every step. Not only how I get from A to B, even if I am at C, but with a mobile phone connected to the internet you can instantly access almost everything anyone has ever said about how to get from being a Teenager to Adult, stressed Executive to Buddhist Monk, and entrepreneur to published author. While I would personally consider myself an adult (though some may question the mental validity of that statement at times) I’m neither stressed, nor an executive any longer, I have never been a Buddhist Monk, but those things interest me. I’m now entering the world of entrepreneurship and I’m almost ready to hit the publish button on my first book. So, being connected is great at asking those questions and giving those kind of answers to move forward.
Living A Richer Life
With iPhone connected, libraries of data more than a shelf full of Encyclopaedia Britannica could ever have contained, is all available in my hand with a few clicks. It sounds like I am a serious academic researcher. Truth is, while I do learn daily from blogs and podcasts, it’s the social web that has connected me, and increased my knowledge significantly more. I have learned so much from the numerous people who live across the world that I have met through my iPhone. People like Chris, Jared, Jim, Jody, Lauren, Peitho, to name but a few, (I could list many, many more, so forgive me if I haven’t mentioned your name, but you all are valued greatly) they have taught me so much about business, public speaking, entrepreneurship, but mostly how to live generous lives. They are generous and giving people, people I would never have met, people who have made my life richer for the knowing them. Being connected can do that.
At NMX in January, when people normally viewed in thumbnail images were standing in front of me, it was, surreally, as if we had met before, that somehow we “knew” each other and were just picking up where we last dropped off in the conversation. Jokes continued. Knowledge increased. Networks extended. New friendships made. While I know that it consumes time, being connected also rewards in ways that I would never have thought possible and for those who don’t “socialise” this way, I’m sure they may never understand.
But there are other questions I’m asking that being connected to the internet doesn’t seem to be answering just now.
Answering Deeper Questions
I’m not sure if it can answer the deeper questions of life. What’s my purpose now? What is the unique contribution that I can make to the world? How do I finish life well? What’s the Autumn of my life to be like? Do other people ask those kinds of questions? Or is it only me? Life seems to be passing by faster as each month is sucked into a vortex of yesterdays. I wrote a while back about how many days I have lived and, if I lived to an average life span in the UK, how many days I might have left. 487 Days have passed since I wrote that post. Where have they gone? I wish sometimes I could just press “pause” and life would stop.
Well that is exactly what I am going to do for six weeks, press pause.
According to www.stepsout.com 1 kilometre is 1,320 steps. The 800 kilometres I have decided to walk across Spain is 1,056,000 steps. Starting in St Jean Pied de Port in France, with just just a rucksack, blister plasters and a ancient route to follow, I am going to walk 1,056,000 steps to Santiago de Compostela. And I’m going to be disconnected from the internet during that time.
Why Would You Walk 1, 056,000 Steps?
Why? Why are you doing this, people ask? I’m not going to “find myself,” I think people go to India or San Francisco to do that. Also, Russell Conwell taught me ages ago that there are acres of diamonds right where I am, so I am not going to find something that I know is where I already am if I dig deep.
I’m just going to take a “pause,” to stop, and disconnect.
I’m very blessed and grateful that I can take this opportunity to spend time walking, thinking and praying. I just want to get up each day and walk, and that is also why I want to disconnect from the internet. I’m very tempted to use this pause for blog posts as I walk the miles. Many have done that before. I know there are stories out there, people to meet and sunrises to see just waiting for me to experience. But those stories will wait for another day to be published. For now, I want to disconnect.
Silence is Golden?
So forgive me the silence over the next few weeks. Occasionally, as I hit a major town, if I can, I will find an internet cafe and post a few pictures because so many of you have supported me in this journey and I’m very grateful for that care, encouragement and want to share some of this “pause” with you.
A journey of 1,056,000 steps begins with 1 step and starts with me disconnecting.
I’ll let you know how it goes!