Last week we went on a cruise with Megan and her family. For seven days. Adding the travel days to St. Maarten and back, it was hands down the longest stretch of time we had been on any sort of vacation.
Since we were on a cruise, and cruise ships charge an absurd amount to use their mediocre wifi, I ended up putting my phone in airplane mode most of the week and only using it as a camera. I didn't realize how much I depended on it for daily information until I didn't have it anymore. It was also surprising how much I didn't miss it after a while.
Actually, about midway through the week, I turned on the global SkyNews channel they had on the boat and was reminded that there were presidential primaries earlier that week. How'd I miss that?
That's how unplugged from the world I was. I totally forgot about the elections.
We went to islands I had never heard of until this trip. Megan and I got to watch the sunrise every morning. She was do a morning exercise and I would grab a cup of coffee, sit on the deck and watch the sun come up over the island we were visiting that day. Sometimes I would journal but most of the time I would just sit in silence, sipping coffee, for about 30-45 minutes.
Whenever we stopped at an island, Megan and I would usually go off on our own and explore. We didn't have the luxury of a GPS to find our way to certain spots or Google Translate to help us on some of the French-speaking islands. We had to navigate together. if we stopped at a bar or cafe, we didn't have our phones (except for two one-off occasions where there was a wifi hotspot) to distract us. We actually had to talk to each other. Or just sit and admire the scenery.
It's funny how when we're home, I feel like I've missed out if I hear about news or some update 20 minutes later than everyone else. After intentionally disconnecting for about a week straight, I realized how silly that actually is. I didn't see the latest election results, baby announcement, or trending video online. Even as I "missed out," the world kept turning and I somehow kept breathing and living. Weird how that worked.
My brain felt more fresh than it had in a long time. Megan and I got to connect and experience new things together without distractions. We lived in the moment, mainly because we had to.
It took being disconnected to really feel more connected with real life.
Now this isn't an anti-technology post. Technology is how Megan and I pay the bills. I love how it has made life easier. I love connecting with people online and seeing new innovations come out that really do make our world better.
I'll always be an advocate of new tech. I think it's just being more intentional of making it work for me instead of me being a slave to it.
However, disconnecting from time to time, whether from tech, work, or just the constant vibrating in your pocket, is something I highly recommend. It's painful at first but the rewards are far greater than anything you think you might miss along the way.
I'm thankful we were able to go and to Meg's parents for taking us with them. I'm also super thankful for everyone at North Highland for covering for me....and for the company's new unlimited PTO policy that made getting time off a little less stressful :)
How about you? Have you intentionally disconnecting from real life for more than a day? How did it go?