It is always rather dull when people come back from a holiday and bang on about it for weeks afterwards - particularly if the hooting and chatter is about how it changed them, or how they are going to alter their lifestyle at home as a result. Colleagues who have been left to deal with the day to day running of the office do not want to hear about sunrise hikes to waterfalls or how you won't drink coffee anymore, just fresh coconut milk....
But every now and then a good holiday can shift one's perspective a little bit, especially if it takes you far away from everything you toil away at work to create. So please do bear with us for this blog, as you are about to hear a 'how my holiday changed me' tale... sorry.
Over the past fortnight Vicky's been dragged off to a remote cottage in northern Scotland, a round trip from Winchester of a mere 1400 miles or so. The location was a 'wilderness cottage', accessible only by 4x4 (and it really was, fords and snowdrifts to negotiate and hill-climb mode engaged just to get to the driveway). There was no internet, TV, or mobile phone signal and nothing close to 3G or 4G. Power was provided by a mini wind-turbine, heating from a log burner and Rayburn, and water from a nearby spring. Visits to the local village (7 miles away) provided a few bars of network coverage but still no mobile internet whatsoever. All rather good but a big change of pace for someone normally nose deep in an iPhone checking apps, websites and emails from dawn until bed time!
Now there is nothing wrong with being tied to devices during the working day, after all we wouldn't run a very good digital marketing agency if we tried to shun tablets, laptops and smartphones would we (brainstorm on a blackboard, anyone?!). But Vicky was very guilty of obsessively checking her phone every few moments in the evening too, letting entire TV programmes pass her by while she 'caught up on Twitter', and spending too much spare time looking at pretty pictures on Instagram.
This break has helped Vicky rediscover reading books, newspapers and even talking to her long-suffering boyfriend. The mobile phone became simply a way to measure how many miles were hiked each day or an alarm clock! She isn't alone - in 2008 people spent an average of 2.7 hours a day engaging with digital media, but last year it had risen to a whopping 5.6 hours a day. There is no doubt our behaviour is changing - the way we communicate with friends, the way we entertain ourselves, and the way we shop. But there are some things we just shouldn't wave goodbye to either. So Vicky is back tapping away at the laptop now, as she should be, but with a determination to ditch the mobile devices in the evening and at weekends, and become a human being again!