31. Authenticity

Thinking back to the trip and how little I used my phone, it’s a little disheartening when I realize how my reliance has shifted back. I would only find use for it as an alarm in the morning and for music whilst writing a journal at night. Outside of those times it was stowed in my bag and was never a distraction. I almost immediately realized that I had no desire to use it, and felt no disconnect as each day passed without updates. It was very freeing and I felt much more at peace. Returning back to this regular life, I see my attachment renewed. Before the trip I had deleted my Snapchat account and immediately felt more at ease, but there are endless functions which draw you in and thieve your time.
In watching a video discussing millennials and their cell phone addictions, the connection to our phone free time in Tonga becomes even more valuable. Technology has become a necessity in our lives, and has plagued our relationships with others and also interpersonally. The video stated that our generation has been weakened because of the instant gratification that comes from our phones and social media. Our generation is supposedly incapable of functioning as an intimate being because of our disconnect to the real world. We live our lives with a filter on it, and hide from authenticity. In Tonga, all these statements become irrelevant as we work alongside each other, overcome hardships, all the while building connections and relationships. Without phones, there is no barrier to this, and real life is the only choice. I talked to people I never had before, and had conversations I never expected. In the absence of technology we found intimacy. I think we all found peace in just being. Sitting around and doing nothing, at times these were the most enriching moments. Finding reverence for surroundings and people, not once did I think of my phone. We were living with authenticity and I miss it.

-Parker