Process Post #3: Off the Grid in Stung Treng, Cambodia

It was interesting to listen to Craig’s story through the lens of his own personal experience with his addiction to his cell phone and social media. I have a few experiences of my own that I could resonate with—one of them being the Clash of Clans addiction, the other being going off the grid in Stung Treng in Cambodia where my colleagues and I had no internet connectivity for two weeks.

The Clash of Clans game peaked when I was in middle school around 2013-2014. I remember one of my friends showing me how cool the game was and how it was actually based on real time (ex. 1 hour of gameplay = 1 hour of wasted on the stupid game), the game would be running in the background 24/7 and other players could “raid” your clan. This allowed the game to essentially be literally a “part of you” at all times. I remember playing this game like crazy… during class, lunch hour and even walking on the way home—you could say I was addicted just like Craig was.

On the contrary, in senior year of high school, I applied for a spot in a class called Global Perspectives which is a yearlong class where you learn about developing countries and end up visiting the specific country of choice that year to go on a 4 weeklong humanitarian trip. My application was successful, and I was admitted alongside 29 other colleagues to visit Cambodia for four weeks. We visited three main cities: Phnom Penh (the capital city), Stung Treng (countryside) and Siem Riep (or how most people refer to it, the city that has Ankor Wat). Phnom Penh and Siem Riep were pretty developed, we had nice hotels, met many people who spoke English. Now Stung Treng, we all experienced some culture shock… our hotel was pretty dingy, there was no wifi, very few people spoke English and the total population of the city was around 35,000 people (for reference, Vancouver has 675,000 people). At Stung Treng, we were forced to make interpersonal connections with the rest of the class and focussed on journaling and creating memories—all without the use of cellphones, social media and selfies.

Now, would I be able to survive an entire month off the grid? Honestly probably not. If you look back at my Cambodia story, at least I had 29 other people to keep me entertained, in Craig’s case, he probably only had less than a dozen people to entertain him. I want to convince myself (and you all) that I am not “addicted” to scrolling through my timeline on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok but I do have to admit that the first thing I do in the morning and the last thing I do at night are those exact things… Just with that alone, I know I would not be able to survive one month off the grid like Craig did but at least I could say I went two weeks off the grid in Cambodia? Close enough I guess…

Photo by Logan Connor

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