Written by: GABY GAMBINA
When we moved to this remote island over a year ago, we were fully aware that there would be a few “upsets” to our daily life. To us, embracing the challenge was all a part of the adventure. We enjoy being immersed in nature, surrounded by mountains, palm trees, and the ocean. We believed these tropical tradeoffs would more than compensate for any inconvenience we could imagine.
Our ambitious goal was to seek silence and work on our own individual growth, given the luxury of no distractions. The image on our vision board back in Bali was:
Now that we’re actually living here, I have come to realize that while I do enjoy walks in the forest and submerging myself in the ocean, I also really miss having an internet connection. As it turns out, this modern technology is more difficult to give up once you’ve known the true luxury of it.
As wifi is not an option on my rock, I’ve had to get resourceful to keep myself connected. The only solution so far has been investing in SIM cards from three different mobile service providers in order to access mobile data. With each new contract, I was warned that given our location surrounded by mountains it is highly unlikely that I would be able to pick up a 3G signal (the minimum required to browse websites easily).
In case you’re ever left without wifi too, here’s a short lesson in mobile telephony symbols, something I’ve become educated in over this past year of desperately trying to stay connected. G stands for 2G (second generation technology) and is the slowest connection you can expect in mobile data. You can at least send messages through WhatsApp with G (thank heavens for WhatsApp!). E is an enhanced version and stands for Enhanced GPRS, which is slightly better than 2G and is therefore referred to as 2.5G. However, trying to browse the internet with E can be a tad frustrating. Moving on to 3G (third generation). This is the minimum connection you would expect if you wanted to browse the internet. If you’re a really lucky island girl, you might have 4G on your phone and that means you’re on the fastest connection on the planet. One can but dream of 4G on this rock.
When I first got my SIM cards, I proceeded to switch them in and out of my phone, checking each one, hoping to see the 3G sign on the screen. I was elated when one of the cards actually showed up as 3G. Little did I know that this was merely a fluke, due to (I’m guessing) some weather or climate related variable. This precious 3G signal is always fleeting, only lasting a few minutes each session (sometimes it can be as short as a few seconds). But even still, it’s hard to get myself to switch it out and let go of that faint glimmer of hope that the coveted 3G may reappear. So I got another phone, which means I can now check two different signals simultaneously. I was so proud of my ingenuity, but have unfortunately found that this just complicates matters further.
I’ve started to realize I’ve become some desperate caricature, reminiscent of that South Park episode when Randy exclaims,”Our house… it has not internet, it’s just gone!”
Picture this… I walk around the house with two phones, one in each hand, wandering from room to room, desperately seeking a 3G signal. I stare at the screen longingly for those two characters to show up. When they do show up, I jolt with excitement and quickly log into WhatsApp, often only to be faced with a “Connecting” message and a timer indicating that I’m not actually connected. Before I know it, I’ve been staring at a “Connecting” screen for minutes willing it to show me a blue “Send” button. Those times when the internet is finally up and running, it’s like a game of “Now you see me, now you don’t!”. It’s here one second and then it’s gone the next. Talk about keeping me on my toes.
While I pictured this move to our far off rock to be one where I’d be staring at landscapes of trees and sea, I find myself instead desperately staring at my phones.
I figure it’s time I finally give in to the “better connection” in nature and focus on developing my creativity instead. You never know, there may come a time when internet/technology stops working just like in did on South Park and we will all have to rely entirely on nature for our entertainment anyway. Then, perhaps I’ll finally be ahead of the game rather than the one left waiting to connect.