Wi-Fi: a word which has its own little brother in the form of a complicated password which, no matter how hard you try, you can never guess. A word which is so often stuck to the inside of windows in cafes and bars as an extra way of tempting customers inside. Even on public transport and in shopping centres, it’s becoming more common. Last summer, I spent four months working in France, where the company I was working for put me up in a house which didn’t have Wi-Fi. I wasn’t looking forward to it.
I soon discovered, however, that living in a house without Wi-Fi, was easier than I expected.
Contact between my friends and family was significantly reduced to the odd text message here and there. I couldn’t enjoy my usual web browsing on BBC iPlayer, social media sites, keeping up to date with the news, or even wanting to know the opening hours of shops in the new area I was in.
I didn’t, however, spend a full four months without connecting to a Wi-Fi network. It was only a five minute walk to the reception where I could connect for free and spend as much time online as I wanted to at my own leisure. It made me think, though, how unnecessary it can be, how unnecessarily we rely on it – how we perhaps over rely on it. As a person, I was more sociable. I spent more time with my housemates instead of hiding behind a computer screen. I did other things that I wouldn’t necessarily have done if I could have browsed the web at my leisure. I read more, I cooked meals for my friends, and I even tidied up more often. Dare I say it; I learned how to live without Wi-Fi. Dare I say it; I found it was easier than I had imagined.
My experience this summer made me reflect on how much we do use Wi-Fi.
It’s possible not to be so dependent on it though. Try it and see.
Are there many places in your town or city where there is free Wi-Fi?