We recently found ourselves on a week long involuntary detox from all things digital. It wasn’t part of our plan, it was absolutely accidental and certainly came as a bit of a shock.

In today's world, it is often impossible to escape technology for even an hour never-mind an entire week. Before we set off on our travels I had this vague, admittedly fleeting, notion that our new lifestyle would free us from the trappings of the internet. We would escape the avalanches of email tumbling into our inbox on a daily basis and I would no longer be tempted to waste hours obsessing about auctions on eBay.

But, the reality is, it doesn’t matter where we are in the world, we still spend a big chunk of each day glued to our devices. Whether it’s updating our blog, managing the inevitable “life admin” that crops up back home or hunting endlessly for the best hotel deal in our next destination, we still lose hours staring into our screens.

Arriving at the remote Perhentian Islands in Malaysia it quickly became apparent that the internet was mind-numbingly slow and agonisingly unstable. We faced a choice; grit our teeth, mutter profanities and waste hours on this beautiful island in the fruitless pursuit to get online. Or pack up our precious gadgets and endure a week of no connectivity to the outside world.

That’s right a whole week with no internet, no Skype, no Facebook, no tweeting, emailing, instagramming or whatsapping. Not even a lowly text. I started to feel a bit light headed and twitchy at this point.

Funnily enough, it made me realise how much our dependency on technology has grown since being on the road. We rely on our devices to research and plan every step of our travels and we count on them to stay connected with our friends and family around the world.

Our girls have never known life without the internet. They assume that at the swipe of a screen we can speak to anyone, anytime, anywhere. They are tiny technology natives and don’t even blink when friends and family across the globe are beamed live into our iPad via the powers of Skype.

So it was with a fair bit of reluctance, and a lot of huffing and puffing, we put aside our digital devices and pressed pause for a week. With no accommodation booked for the following week, and unanswered emails piling up, a distinct feeling of unease and discomfort gnawed away at us. Steve felt positively lost without his BBC news alerts and Jessica just looked at me blankly when I tried to explain why Mr Tumble was no longer available on tap.

But as the days went by we learnt to appreciate being technology free. We realised we could fret over what we may be missing or we could embrace the unknown. Jessica practiced her letters with a coral “pencil” in the sand instead of solving puzzles on her Alphablocks app. We spent hours building huge sand castles with moats to fill when the tide came in. The girls got sandy, got dirty, got messy and, heavens above, even got bored when it wouldn’t stop raining one day and they had no devices to plug into. They ventured outside and played with pure abandonment in the downpour instead.

The Perhentian Islands have become a firm favourite of ours. The simplicity of the island and the slow, easy pace of living there made a real lasting impression on us. I can honestly say it is the first time in years we’ve turned our technology off and properly detached ourselves from our devices. Without daily distractions and interruptions we totally connected with the beautiful place around us. And without doubt it was the happiest moments of our trip so far.

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