Last week I went on a cruise with my wife and family to the Bahamas. After a crazy busy set of weeks at the office, the break was much needed and the time in the sun was VERY much appreciated. As a result of being out in the ocean and in another country (and not buying an international plan for my phone), I went without Internet for a week. It was a decision to truly and honestly unplug from the world. With last week being the week that March Madness kicked off, it was an especially tough sacrifice to not keep up with my bracket in real time...nor be able to live stream one of the only times UK and my alma mater Western Kentucky playing in the first round. Nothing but the ocean, family and copious amounts of food.

So what was the end result? Here's what happened while not being online for a week:

  • Over 500 emails on my work account hit my inbox
  • 200 personal emails in my inbox
  • Numerous tweets, pin comments and followers
  • Missed pretty much anything that happened at #SXSW
  • Missed the UK vs WKU NCAA tourney game (felt worth mentioning a second time)
  • The latest app obsession, eloquently chronicled by @juliacantor here in this post
  • Also, with my home internet crashing for two nights, missing being able to read Pulse, write blogs or pin more content or watch Netflix at night.
It's easy to focus on what we miss when we can't get online. What happened when we weren't looking. Which viral meme garnered a few cheap laughs. However, without the Internet for a week, here's what I did experience:
  • Read most of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
  • Talked to many people - face to face
  • Spent time with my wife without the aid of one of us looking at a screen
  • Didn't read 700 emails
  • Got to lay in a hammock in the sun and just think. Not do, just think and let my mind wander
  • Had great conversations with my parents and grabbed pizza with my dad at 2am to just chat about life without worrying about what was going on in the interwebs
  • Recharged. Not just physically but mentally as well
This isn't a post to bash the internet. I love what I do online every day and am lucky to be able to get paid to do what I love. However, there is benefit to getting offline once in a while. There's more going on in the world that can't be found on your screen. I enjoyed my week away from technology but I'm okay with being plugged back in. I just may prioritize my time online a little differently.
If you spent one less hour a day online, whether it be not answering emails or avoiding Pinterest for a little while - what would you do with that hour? Would you want to give that hour back?