A Great Experience With Digital Deceleration – One Week Low Speed Holiday In Germany 

Being used to the high paced environment in Singapore – this Trip really slowed me down. And I’m gonna tell you why.

This year, my Wife and I decided to spend our holiday with my family at the beautiful Lake Constance in the picturesque town of Konstanz, Germany. More precisely in one of the narrow alleys of the lovely old quarter (Altstadt) of the town.

Old quarter Konstanz

I love tech, I would say I’m addicted to all kinds of it. Now imagine how I reacted when I realised that I had no LTE (4G) connectivity. 3G was more off than on, and to my surprise not even Edge connectivity was guaranteed.

Well, guess what? When I entered the little apartment in a lovely heritage protected house from the 14th century, even the cellphone connection was gone. The 1m thick wall of the old house was doing a great job keeping  me apart from radiation. But there must be WIFI, or? Nope, not in this building! This is particular funny as I booked the place using a very disruptive app from the new world – Airbnb 😀…

My first thought was “Vorsprung durch Technik – Welcome to the high-tech land Germany”.

Normally, my routine is to check my Email, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Twitter account first thing in the morning, several times during the day and last thing before going to bed. Some call it crazy, I call it normal.

The first night: It was a strange feeling not being able to check the news, chat with friends and check work emails to stay on top of everything. It felt helpless – my tool to the world became suddenly dull and useless.

The next morning: I don’t want to go into the details here 😅 but as usual I brought my phone with me into the bathroom. So, that’s when I realised how useless an iphone was without internet connection and how boring it could be on a toilet.

Over the course of the holiday my attention shifted automatically to more traditional medias. It suddenly became important to have some of these tourist flyers, free newspapers and brochures available in the bathrooms. It reminded me to my childhood where the Mikey Mouse magazine was always available next to the toilet.

Still, I kept on fighting against this digitally decelerated and tech hostile environment and was trying to find corners to catch a signal and stay connected to the world.

But this led to another problem. Due to the bad internet connection, my phone battery was drained so quickly that I had no battery left when I finally reached a place with wifi or stable 3G connection. If it wasn’t for the camera, the phone became more like an useless heavy piece of equipment you don’t want to carry around anymore.

Analog to what I have experienced this week in Konstant, the German newspaper Handelsblatt has published an article today (July 14, 2017), basically describing the same problem just at a larger scale. It was titled “Auf der digitalen Kriechspur” [my English translation would be: “On the digital creeper lane”]; it basically confirms that Germany is a developing country when it comes to high speed internet connection. Especially the german SMEs are suffering and are thretened to be digitally overtaken by their foreign competitors.

Attempts to get a signal | My mobile street office
Attempts to get a signal | My mobile street office

The bottom line: Beside more quality and fun time with my family during my holiday, I was really happy to discover the feeling of being bored again. I really think hat this experienced deceleration is quite healthy to all of us, especially for those living in a fast paced environment. I could really feel my stress level dropping and I started to care less as a result of not being able to connect. The permanent urge to stay on top of things was gone. But if you ask me if I would change it with what I’m used to have in high paced Singapore – I clearly say “no way”.

#DigitalTransformation, #DigitalDeceleration, #Singapore, #Germany, #HighSpeed, #SlowDown, #SlowSpeed, #Digitalisation

(Images source: © Tim-Frederik Kohler)