Last week, we were blessed to travel to the lovely Dominican Republic home to gorgeous white sand beaches, gracious hospitality, and very spotty almost non-existent wi-fi.
We were very excited for our nine-year-old son to experience his first trip out of the country. Between the three of us, we had 2 cell phones, one work laptop, our family laptop, an iPad, and a Fitbit.
Upon arrival, like bonafide tourists, we were snapping photos of the palm trees and buildings and ourselves with tropical beverages. And what would one do with these photos next, upload to Facebook, of course! No such luck. Downloading…. Error…. Unable to process….
I joined the gaggle of other guests at the lobby desk in search of wi-fi codes. In a resort that attracted visitors from various parts of the world, I could see this desire to connect is not unique to the USA.
But alas $40 per day!?! I’ll pass, thanks. Reluctantly, we unplugged for the week.
In any language or even without words, you can see the disconnect being connected has created. It’s no wonder this video has been viewed over 50 million times.
In our week of being unplugged, we discovered:
1. We didn’t miss it that much. (Okay… maybe after day 2)
2. We still like each other. Whew!
3. Work went on fine without us. The people we trusted did what they were supposed to do.
4. We spent more time really appreciating the beauty of our surroundings instead of just photographing the sights for social media.
5. We made new friends poolside from all over the USA, Canada, and France. We learned about their culture and even picked up a few new words in other languages.
6. We got a real kick of watching people take selfies (one gal must have taken 40 selfies in the pool) and Snapchat (one musclebound dude nearly broke a leg on sandcastle while capturing his best kissy face on camera). Very entertaining!
7. Without tracking it via the device, we’re pretty sure we logged 20k-30k steps/day. There’s a lot more time to walk and discover when your heads not down on a screen!
8. On the four-hour flight home (GASP) we played cards and talked while others watched movies solo they had downloaded in preparation.
9. By day 7, disembarking at home and observing entire families deeply entranced in their phones, we found ourselves reflecting on what impact all this connectivity is having on real social relationships.
I hope that you will get the chance to be #unplugged if not, by force, then perhaps by choice. In a recent survey, 29% of cell owners describe their cell phone as “something they can’t imagine living without.” I assure you, you can. It’s quite refreshing!
Challenge: Set aside a day each week to be device free. Can’t do a whole day? Start with an hour each morning.
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” —Anne Lamott
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