Operation Unplugged: Q&A with Daniel Paluzzi

Operation Unplugged takes eight self-identified tech addicts and throws them into challenge-based adventures across Canada for 30 days.

Daniel Paluzzi

Show handle: Smartphone Slave
Hometown: Woodbridge
Studies: Pharmacology
Favourite website: notcot.com

Why did you want to be on Operation Unplugged?

I had never actually travelled before. My first time on an airplane was in the summer during the show. And my friends and family know me as a high-maintenance person—pampered, spoiled and whatnot—and couldn’t see me camping. I wanted to prove to them that I could do it, and also to myself.

What was the hardest part of being away from it all?

It was very different because the people I’d been in contact with for most of my life—I couldn’t tell them anything anymore. When I wanted to text them or let them know what’s going on, it got difficult when I needed the emotional support. Then of course there’s the random things like checking my pocket for my phone or thinking I had to charge it, that would kind of psych me out a bit.

What was the best part of being on the show?

There were a lot of things I didn’t anticipate enjoying. The one thing I really took a liking to was kayaking. We had certain challenges during which I really fell into the motion of it, being out on the open water, pushing myself to get to the next destination. It was an emotional and spiritual thing as well.

Is there anything you’ve incorporated from your experience on the show into your life?

I take bike rides with my roommate, I go the gym 4 or 5 times a week. Come summertime I intend to travel or even go back to one of the parks.

What’s your favourite place that you visited?

Motherwell Homestead. It made me feel like home and brought back memories of horseback riding and being on the farm. There were great people working there and it was very nostalgic, like a trip back to the 1880s but it was also a lot of work.

What would be your advice for others who are too plugged-in?

There’s nothing wrong with having a cellphone or using tech, but it’s all about moderation. You have to ask yourself about more productive uses of your time, stuff that you can carry through with yourself, like learning a language. Watching a YouTube video can spark maybe 5-10 mins of conversation with friends and family and you should be focusing your energy elsewhere.

Operation Unplugged premieres Tuesday February 21 at 9 p.m. EST on Travel + Escape.