Everyone loves to write about disconnecting while on vacation, and about whether it’s a good idea or a bad one. (Uh, yes, I do put myself in the category of loving to write about it.)
Anyway, my husband and I just got back from a week-long camping trip where we disconnected completely. I’d like to say it was for some profound moral or spiritual reason, but it was actually because we were camping in a park that had no cell signal and no Wi-Fi. Can you believe it? In 2013? And we didn’t leave the country. Heck, we didn’t even leave the state!
Disconnecting did not include leaving behind electronic devices. I had my Kindle and iPad. My husband had his iPad. We both had our phones, but turned them off as soon as we arrived and didn’t turn them back on until we left to drive back home.
I was surprised at how little I missed being connected. I did wish for Wikipedia a few times (doesn’t everyone wonder about angelic hierarchy while vacationing?) But other than that, I didn’t miss the Internet. I certainly didn’t miss email.
I did miss texting a couple of times. My husband had to make a Walmart run, and usually we text back and forth on those to make sure he doesn’t miss anything. And there were a few other times we were briefly separated when a quick text would have come in handy. We survived, obviously.
So was it a better, more relaxing vacation? Actually, I’m not sure it made much of a difference. Even when I have access to phone, email and the Internet, I do little to no work while on vacation. So it’s not like disconnecting made a difference there.
Email was the biggest impact. When I have signal, I process email a couple of times a day. I don’t read or answer; I just delete junk and schedule important emails to return to when I get back home. Turning on Wi-Fi on my iPad and seeing a three-digit badge on my email app wasn’t a happyifying event, but I managed.
So, I’m left with the same opinion as before: We choose how much technology rules our life. Not missing it while I was gone, I think, says more about choices I’ve made than the inherent “goodness” or “evilness” of technology. It’s a tool. Tech, including the Internet, makes my life easier and often more pleasant, but I don’t let it rule or take over my life.
I doubt I’m alone in that. What about you? Does losing your access make you twitchy … or is it relaxing?