The Wifi Free Wilderness

I had a great time on vacation last week in Vermont.

I think part of what made it so great was that for whole chunks of time each day I was able to completely unplug.

Not just metaphorically, but literally.

My cell phone didn’t work in the house where we were staying and most of my outdoor time (on the slopes, in the woods snowshoeing) I was also blissfully out of range.

I think we’ve forgotten how wired we are all the time…until we’re not.

And it’s amazing. Quiet, peaceful, and the world doesn’t stop turning or go  to pot, because we can’t be reached or can’t immediately respond to every email or text.

My only disappointment was that for the first time in all the years we’ve been going there, the house we were staying at had been wired for wifi access.


I managed (mostly) to control my email and Face book checking.

But the kids (two 7th  graders and two 3rd graders ) spent way too much time on line.

At one point, the two 12 year old girls were actually sitting on the couch next to each other, each with their own lap-top, but speaking to each other not out loud…but on line!

We found ourselves having to limit the computer time, and getting the kids to actually talk to each other and play real (not virtual) games. They complained at first, but then had a blast playing Apples to Apples, snow tubing, and just being silly.

I was grateful for the terrific snow, the wonderful company and the chance to recharge. We did have lost of face time, lots of family dinners (what a treat) and a great time catching up and being with our friends and kids.

But these advances in technology (while mostly positive) do make me nostalgic for the old fashioned kind of social networking. The type where social networking only meant being social with the people you are with, and not the ones online and thousands of miles away.

Well, at least we still had après ski in the hot tub which is still (for now) a lap top free zone. Until of course, Apple invents a computer that can get wet.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

How successful are you at completely unplugging on vacation or elsewhere?

6 thoughts on “The Wifi Free Wilderness

  1. Julie,

    Love this post and glad you had such a good vacation.

    Working in digital, my instinct is “plug in, log on, click.”

    But I agree with you. People are best experienced, ironically, in-person.

    Sara

  2. It’s one of the reasons I like flying (Virgin of course, Silver member yup) – no emails or cell phones. I know people would like to use this time productively and you can write reports etc and upload at the airport.

    Personally kicking back with a glass of wine and a few episodes of Peep Show is the only way to travel.

    Welcome back Julie.

  3. Generally, I’m not super successful at totally unplugging while on vacation–I jump through the AT&T fire-y hoops to make sure that my blackberry will work in whatever country I visit, my hotel has wifi or I can get on somewhere nearby, etc…however I do try to create a rule around when I am allowed to check emails (maybe only once or twice per day for a short period of time) rather than checking my blackberry whenever it buzzes which makes a huge difference!

    Next time with your kids, you can do what my dad did to me once on a family vacation to Mexico–after the car was packed he removed my “activities bag” from the trunk on the sneak so when I arrived I was without my laptop, phone charger, books and everything, at first I was in panic mode but after a corona and some fresh guacamole I had my priorities straight!

    1. @kimmy @sara @floyd thanks for the comments. I recently traveled on a wifi enabled plane and I ended up going on line the whole time. While it was really productive and made the time pass, I did miss the relaxation of feeling that no one could reach me and of just watching some movies. I think Kimmy may be on to something. I think a wired world is the wave of the future, maybe we just need to practice more self-discipline about how and when we plug in.

  4. As an aside, and speaking as someone who has to develop creative ideas for a living, I find switching off from the problem very conducive to finding solutions.

    Don Juan’s “Not Seeing” magical thinking in effect.

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