Taking a digital detox in Scotland

When I spontaneously booked for Brad and I to go to Scotland a few months back, I never thought to check exactly whereabouts it was. It turned out it was right up in the highlands, a seven-hour drive away, and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. In fact, I can’t think of anywhere more remote in the UK.

Nevertheless, this didn’t put me or Brad off. We’ve never been to Scotland before, and it made sense that we may as well add a couple more hours onto the trip and go somewhere scenic. Even when the Beast From the East basically brought the whole of the UK to a standstill, we were still determined to make the drive.

And that we did. After nine hours of delays and driving through the craziest snow I have ever experienced, we made it to our hotel, a much needed warm, cozy shelter from the horrendous weather outside. It turned out that we were one of two guests who had actually managed to make it to the hotel that weekend, and so we were upgraded to a lake-view room, which gave us the most stunning lake and mountain backdrop to wake up to.

After using my data for practically the whole day, the first thing I did was to search for the hotel’s WiFi password. It turned out there was no WiFi, or, if there was, it wasn’t currently working. And there was no data, because where we were staying was far too remote to need it.

At first, this really bothered me. I had all sorts of panicky thoughts about “how am I going to keep updated with the outside world?” and “how am I going to share things on Instastories?” (I know, I know). I also freelance for a couple of clients, and I worried that they’d notice an absence of general activity on their accounts over the weekend.

But then it dawned on me that there was nothing that I could do about my situation. And instead of this realization causing me to feel even more worried, I actually felt kind of… at peace with the whole thing. It was actually a very comforting acceptance to know that I had no choice but to not use my phone during my weekend in Scotland. Suddenly, a great big burden of responsibility had been taken from my shoulders.

It’s crazy how much a little peace of metal and glass can mean to us these days. I often wonder what my great grandparents would think if they came back into a world where the majority of people spent their entire days staring at screens of various sizes and tapping away at keyboards. They’d probably think the world had gone mad. Don’t get me wrong, Instagram is my life- Em and I have discussed how blogging and Instagram have given us the biggest and most rewarding motivation we could possibly want. I would never give up my phone and go back to old times, if I was given the option. But it’s equally important to remember to take a step back, and remind yourself of what is real life and what isn’t.

Doing this in Scotland, even if I didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter, meant that I had the most relaxing weekend in weeks. Brad and I took hikes in the foothills of the Ben Nevis (and I got judged by a group of “real” hikers for my poor choice of footwear- see below), then when it got too cold, we spent the rest of the afternoon lying in bed, watching daytime TV and looking at the snow out of the window. Dinner involved a half-hour trip to the nearest town to pick up a pizza takeaway, and on the second night, a huge curry at an Indian restaurant. It wasn’t the pace of life I was used to, but it definitely made a nice change.

I’d like to say that Scotland has ingrained some different routines into my life that involve knowing when to switch my phone off and live in the real world, but I’d be lying if I said that. As I write this, my phone is currently sitting next to my keyboard, and I’ve checked it about four times, even though it’s on loudspeaker and there have been no notifications coming through. I guess this is just the world we live in now; we all have the constant need to be connected.

One thing I did learn from Scotland is that my New Look pink puffer jacket, three jumpers and a pair of leggings under jeans just won’t cut it when the weather is minus 5 degrees. Oh, and also that I probably should have been more prepared when it came to footwear. You can take a look at some of my favourite photos we took on our trip below.


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