Lost in Lake Como

Along the journey, I lost my way, though not in any real or physical sense. I lost my writing muse, a frequent visitor to my early morning half wakefulness. She still made some attempts, and suggested I take up the pen again but being out of touch with that older, and more time-consuming form of editing, I repelled her constant intrusions.

This drastic shift in daily habit came about due to the absence of WiFi. Our friend, SK, had generously offered us his house on Lake Como, and along with it, a non functional internet service. Ironically, this same friend is an IT programmer and when he left Como to return to London, he assured us that the internet would be up and running within a day. It didn’t happen, and while I don’t wish to sound terribly ungrateful for the opportunity to live in his gorgeous house just up the road from George Clooney, the internet free time had profound consequences.

During the first two days, I became extremely anxious and fidgety and came to understand my addiction as a physical thing, not unlike addiction to cigarettes, coffee, or obsessive behaviour. I felt totally lost and cut off and didn’t know what to do with my hands. I had been permanently connected for the previous 12 years, including during visits to the Australian outback and along remote stretches of the Mekong River in Thailand. After some tearful moments, I was ready to leave Lake Como.

Slowly things improved as I adjusted to the reality of the situation. We were staying in the small village of Laglio, some distance from the larger towns dotted around Lake Como. Our village was in November mode, with only one operating osteria and a tiny alimenatari with totally random opening hours, both a kilometre or so away. There were no internet cafes to tap into and the supposed community WiFi service near the bus stop was dysfunctional. So we walked, and asked more questions, and bought newspapers again, and read timetables on walls and at Batello stations. The nearest ferry stop was 2.5 kilometres away: the ferry left and returned three times a day and was the only reliable way in and out of the village. We never mastered the buses due to lack of faith or trust. We did have a car, but left it safely locked up in the garage, given the Lake’s goat track and hair pinned roads and serious dearth of parking. Getting out of the village meant access to other towns, tourist brochures, and a variety of restaurants, often stumbled upon and not tediously researched. We walked at least 10 kilometres a day in our search for food, services and information.

Knowing how to relax. No phone.

And as the week went by, I noticed a few things. I slept really well. I thought nothing of walking the 5 kilometers round trip to catch a ferry, even in the rain. Or walking late at night to the only winter surviving restaurant at Laglio. I became fit. I read Italian newspapers back to back, and read the books laying idle on my Kindle. And then I stopped writing.

Don’t pay the ferryman.
Another village along the edge of Lake Como

In hindsight, I enjoyed the break and intend to do this more often. Even when reconnected once we arrived in Pavia, my addiction had abated and I rarely tapped into the service.

How do you cope, dear reader, when the internet is unavailable? Do you feel anxious, or relieved to have a break from constant communication and availability?

46 thoughts on “Lost in Lake Como”

  1. I completely understand your tour from not coping to enjoying. But I take a break now and then, knowing how good I will feel about it. I take up my knitting and crocheting, my reading books and my painting. It is a good thing. Everyone should have time off from these internet things…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great article and amazing pictures, thank you for sharing. I completely relate to your story, we live in an age where we’re constantly connected and anything less feels unnatural. Having that space and time all for yourself, away from the internet to recharge is absolutely invaluable.

    Like

  3. I’ve experienced the lack of connectivity and the transitional adjustment as a result, especially when traveling. On our recent trip, there was that aspect, and then illness which made me not care at all! As you know, I’ve taken a break from writing and while I think about it daily and miss it a bit, it has made room for other things…and this is no bad thing. Your photos are still gorgeous! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Francesca . . . I read and looked and smiled and ‘giggled’ at your post methinks three times over . . . . oh, much of the time I hate being ‘connected’ . . . am well known for taking my landline of the hook for a day or more. Don’t have proper mobile reception, so glorious peace – until some blooming Telstra know-it-all says ‘but, but, but, Mrs Carr – how can you live without a phone and Net?’ 🙂 !! With consummate ease in my case, until I feel I should really get down to work and would not mind knowing how X in Hong Kong and Y in Chicago are doing . . . oh, love Lake Como: did you get a chance to stickybeak you’know’who’s house?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had a big stickybeak in the gardens of that house, as we passed it twice daily to and fro the ferry. It has a beautiful location but is best viewed from the ferry. Just lovely, and lots of security cameras too.

      Like

  5. I truly can relate ♡ I noted your blog absence, and hoped you were simply immersed in your travels.
    By the time the end of our city life came around I was truly reliant on the blog community for my sanity. I went to lot of trouble and some expense to ensure we’d have no internet gap when we moved. Spent way too much money on data and time worried about unwritten blog posts while we travelled around Australia. Anxious I’d lose my community connection if I didn’t post blogs or visit blogs enough. Almost two years later I’m happy with my life – online balance. I enjoy my time in both spaces and am confident in the friendships I’ve made, the community augmenting my life regardless of my fluctuating levels of participation.
    Lake Como looks – lovely photographs- and sounds -wonderful words- marvellous. But… sometimes… marvellous takes time to become accustomed to, appreciative of.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve noticed the shift in your online presence since your relocation to the country and when you do a blog post, it’s just wonderful to hear the news of your garden, your course and other snippets of country living. Of course you know that we are all here, we know your story along the way, and we’re not going anywhere in the short term ( let’s hope).
      Yes Como was surprisingly good. We didn’t intend on going there, but when the offer of the house came up. I popped it onto the agenda. Two days turned into a week. I thought it would be all too glam and touristy, villas and not very Italian. I was so wrong. Staying in a small village, and cut off from the main large towns, meant settling into a quiet life, only ‘enhanced’ by our lack of wifi.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have had problems with internet connection often on my travels. At first I struggled with it. Now I just give in to it and do something else.
    Writing a blog can be addictive and you think you need to constantly feed it, but it doesn’t really matter. I have learned to calm down.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Blogging can be addictive. I need it to satisfy my need to write- which is a daily thing. I have 5 more stories to each one posted. Then checking up on family news on FB is my main addiction. When away for five months, Facebook is my lifeline.
      The internet is now the source of all tourist information, so when in a small village in winter, you can feel quite cut off from the world without it.

      Like

    1. If only- his place is like a fortress. I passed by twice a day and had a good look inside the lovely gardens but only saw gardeners. Next time he will ask me in for a cup of tea…

      Like

  7. I have cut my checking and posting in half as I was getting anxious about other jobs either being ignored or never gotten around to. I only check about twice a day now and feel happier – sick of being glued to screens – not good for the eyes. I skip many articles but can’t read them all. Being on holidays when you are addicted to the net challenges you. On a recent cruise I had to suddenly get used to 20 mins free wi-fi per day otherwise I would be up for hundreds of dollars. This made me angry at first but then I started to walk around the ship and get involved in speaking with and meeting new people, most of them Americans who are quite different to Australians in their expectations and culture. This I did without the phone on me or my purse. I felt unshackled. 😎

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good training. With only 20 minutes a day you could do all the important stuff and forget about all the trash that gets so distracting. For me, the addiction is about writing and splicing photos into the story. I need to write every day, and although the worn little journal travels everywhere with me, it still feels frustrating.

      Like

      1. Yes I can understand that. Important interests and hobbies need to be satisfied. They are different for everyone but you have to make time for them. A couple of times onboard the ship I was offered cut rates for an extra 20 mins because they stuffed up the Wi-Fi but otherwise I would have been paying more for extra time. I did manage to get all my banking, checking and texting done in 20 mins but it was a race for time! You need to touch base somehow when you are away in case something happens in the family. Exactly that happened in the middle of our cruise. We were told via Facebook that a relative on Terry’s side had died. It was a shock.

        Like

  8. Welcome back Francesca. Isn’t Lake Como the most beautiful place on earth? Your pics confirm my belief. I’ve done some pretty crazy things in remote areas in an effort to connect, but all it really proves is that life goes on regardless. I think there’s a fine balance most of us fail to achieve where connectivity is the means to an end rather than the end itself. Glad you found the place of balance/benefit in the end

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was hard for a whole week- mostly missing family contact, as well as checking up on opening times of museums, restaurants, and so on. Tourism is now based on the assumption that most people are connected- many tourist offices have folded and information is often hard to find.
      Yes, now back and suffering from extreme jet lag- but happily so.

      Like

  9. In China despite vpns I suffered from similar internet problems. No gmail, no googling, and no wordpress. Despite this I managed to post photos on Facebook and they together with my notes have provided me with a framework for my present posts. Actually, the important thing is not posting things but writing things. As the great author Olivia Manning said ‘not one day without a line.’ She thought writing made her life bearable. It didnt matter if she wasn’t recognized during her lifetime. The important thing is to carry on writing, walking and loving. Without those three, in no particular order, one might as well be defunct.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Francis, wise words. The writing will go on. It’s a habit I don’ wish to lose. Walking- now there’s the challenge, now that I am back home. Loving- yes, bring it on, especially all my little ones.
      Enjoy China. I experienced those same problems when there a couple of years ago. You can get around things. What an amazing country.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome back, have loved reading your travel stories. What an incredibly beautiful location Francesca. I do have to give myself an enforced ‘tech break’ every now and again as it is quite addictive. (Although I do still use the ipad or laptop to write, I just try not to go online.) However, you are so right, so much everyday information like train timetables, restaurant hours are now on the Internet, it would have been a bit tricky.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Lisa, you are so kind. Must re- learn how to use word, though my best writing is done the old way, slowly and with lots of crossing out, in a beaten up journal. The most frustrating part was the lack of timetable info and opening hours. But then, we really ended up feeling more attuned to the place, that little post season village.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Ohh, my, a physical thing indeed. Without internet (and dog, and amore) my remote life in rural Tuscany would suddenly feel unbearable. Both of us are extremely antsy when the connection is down, and this is often, even if only for a few minutes (don’t need to explain Italy to you). I’m so grateful for the dog who makes me go out. And I’m happy to hear that your experience turned so positive (fit… mmmmm, missing that), not to mention with gorgeous photo results.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What a beautiful place to be “lost” in. I would be like you and be chewing the carpet if I didn’t have the internet for great periods of time. I can see the benefits of going cold turkey now and then just to clear the system, just not for long! I read books – both old fashioned paper and kindle. Writing is usually on the computer, but I do have a nice mechanical pencil I am fond of and a few hard cover notebooks I normally fill with research notes. Now photos are a different story. We are completely digital now and I only feel safe when I have backed them up via the internet. It looks like you survived and you are back “up” on-line. Keep writing those travel stories and taking those beautiful photos. I enjoy reading about your adventures very much.

    Like

  13. Lake Como looks wonderful in November. We’ve never had the pleasure of visiting but might one day.
    As for Net addiction, yes I’m fully hooked in. I’ve been told I’m a wee bit difficult when the internet is down. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen often. But, if I found myself in your recent predicament, I would hope to find some peace as you did.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful images Miss 😃 How lovely Lake Como is. I have been places where wifi is nearly non existent and I have chased spots and times to hook into the world. I survived haha. You always do. I must admit though .. I do like having a choice 😉 hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Beautiful photos of Lago di Como Francesca. The closest I have been is Lago Maggiore. My cousins have a bar in Angera but it has been a long time since I’ve been. I run into internet problems whenever I am in my paese in Puglia. I don’t have it at home or data on my Italian phone, so I have to go to one of 3 bars in town. Whenever anyone sees me sitting alone, they come over to chat. I don’t want to be antisocial and stare down at a screen, and i would much rather be having a live conversation,so I have come to terms with the fact that while I’m there, I am limited to quickly check email and Whatsapp or posting a photo to Instagram. I have stopped trying to write blog posts while I’m away. I need to be better organized with post-dated posts. Mannaggia, all of this technology! I definitely do get a lot more writing and sketching done with limited internet access. Ciao, Cristina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has its up sides, you get to chat more for sure. I have all these drafts still waiting to post. The thing is, I’m far more inspired and creative when I’m travelling and since we go away for months at a time, I need to write along the way. Often when I come back and write travel blogs, they lack a certain freshness. Ciao Cristina.

      Liked by 1 person

Now over to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.