The Digital Detox

"Why these teens love not having their phone."

Wait… going on a trip and NOT documenting the entire thing on social media? Say what?? Well yes. We’re doing that. And Builders LOVE it. Imagine traveling somewhere, knowing you will be able to document all of your memories and friends with cameras and designated trip photographers, but without the distraction of home, social media, and cat videos on YouTube. 

Over the years we started to notice something – when Builders are able to give their whole time, attention and hearts into the service, they truly gain a connection with the group, their new local friends and themselves that is hard to match when spending time staring at a screen. 

What is a Digital Detox? 

A Digital Detox is a space of time being free from electronics. Your tablet, phone, smartwatch, laptop, are all safely taking a nap while you experience life with no distractions. It truly has become one of the most favorite parts of Humanitarian XP trips according to Builder surveys. 

It may sound weird, archaic, maybe even awkward at times, but putting your phone and electronics away allows you to open your eyes to all of the little things happening around you. Traveling on an open air bus in Fiji, typically a “dead” time you would have spent updating yourself on social media timelines, you’re now fully aware of the little Fijian girl making faces at you a few rows ahead. The tropical air blows on your face as you make faces back, and soon you have a new friend. 

Walking up the hill of Machu Picchu where you typically would be checking if the lighting was ok in that last picture you took and writing your new caption for Instagram, you now take in the crisp mountain air, watch the family of alpacas walk by, and you’re perfectly situated to watch the brief 30 second beautiful sunrise. That moment happens once in a lifetime. 

You’re on the worksite taking a break for lunch, a time you typically would be searching for that one song you forgot about to add and play on your playlist, is now spent joking and laughing with your 22 new best friends, moments you’ll remember for the rest of your life because you’re fully there. 

Does any of that sound weird, awkward or archaic? 

How does it work?

First, we know that travel is tricky. When you travel to meet up with your group in your meeting location, you will be able to have your phone, call your Mom, throw up that “See you in a few weeks!” last Instagram and text your Trip Leader that you arrived on time! Your Trip Leader will meet you in the airport with the rest of your group and the fun officially begins. 

Your Trip Leader will then keep your phone safe for you throughout the rest of the trip. When you arrive back in the United States, they will return it, but we promise, the magic of having your phone back is a little less shiny. So many Builders have commented, “Wait, I don’t even want this back!” because the feeling of being able to be fully present, giving yourself and serving those you love is hard to match through a screen. 

Even after your trip, before your trip, whenever you want, we encourage you to try out your own personal Digital Detox. Give your phone a rest, power it down and put it in a drawer for whatever time you set and immerse yourself in the world you are living in. It’s beautiful and wonderful and it’s waiting for you