By Mia Wallace
May 18, 2016
I can sum up driving along the Irish countryside in one word: lambs. Lambs to the left of me, lambs to the right. The song “Stuck in the Middle with You” sums up my experience if you incorporate lambs to the mix. But while there is an incredible abundance of lambs (4 million to be exact — to learn more about the sheep, click here), there is a real shortage of wifi. Being a 20-something in this day and age means being able to and wanting to stay in constant contact with your friends, family and all your hundreds of followers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine and what have you. But over the past three days, the twenty of us college “phone-heads” are all learning a valuable lesson in disconnecting.
Without the many benefits that mass communication has brought to the world, I would not be able to communicate with my little sister living 3,500 miles away in Cape Town. Even though it has greatly shaped and changed our modern world for the better and brought people closer together, it has also created a barrier between people actually having face-to-face conversations without incorporating their phones to the mix. Go into any restaurant in America and people will be sitting across from one another both on their phones having conversations with other people, never once making eye contact with the person sitting right across from them. As Daithi, our Shamrocker tour guide, said “you Americans love your wifi” and we do, sadly too much at times. I realized how dependent we are on being in constant contact with others and how upsetting and draining it is for us when we can’t be. Cell phones and mass communication is faltering the art of conversation and making it nearly impossible to have real genuine connections with people in the same room with you because you are too busy looking at your phone.
So, I would like to make an ode to the lack of wifi in the Irish countryside and say thank you for the gift of genuine conversation and the beautiful sights it has given me because otherwise my face would be glued to my glowing little screen. An ode to being off the grid. No one being able to contact anyone and them not being able to contact you for some people is a nightmare but it has given me the time away from the “real world” that I think everyone needs now and again. People don’t have alone time anymore because you have all your friends and family sitting next to you just a text message away. This is an ode to finding peace with yourself. Constantly being able to see what your ex is doing and what new girl he is talking to now is a barrier preventing you from finding peace and love with yourself. Constantly comparing yourself to others and wondering “why her and not me” happens more often and in more suffocating quantities because you are always being updated with what the people who have caused you the most heartache are doing on a daily basis. How can you move on and find peace when you are dragging yourself down by checking the Facebook posts and the Instagram pictures of the people who have given you so much anguish? You can’t.
So if I had a nickel for every lamb I saw…I could probably afford to buy my own personal hotspot and have all the wifi I could possibly need or desire. But Ireland has shown me that I don’t want to and I certainly don’t need to.