Two Weeks ‘Unplugged’
When we booked our holiday, I knew that the lodge we had rented didn’t have WiFi. But it was a great deal and a gorgeous lodge. Plus, I hadn’t really got seriously into my blogging at that point and you know there’s 3G.
Fast forward 6 months and we’ve arrived for our fab holiday (and it was fab), in our beautiful lodge (which was truly gorgeous) and not only does it not have WiFi there is also absolutely no mobile reception apart from in one small spot in the house. No 3G at all, and I could occasionally send text messages, but no phone calls. The nearby local town had phone reception, but no 3G either.
My husband was delighted by this fact, working in IT he saw it as a great opportunity to completely unplug. No emails, no social media, no text messages, just us and our holiday. And I can see his point. But … I kind of hated it if I’m honest.
Bear with me…. Did it ruin my holiday? No, of course not. I was there to spend time with my family and relax and that is exactly what I did. But here are my reasons why at times I found it hard.
First and most importantly I would have liked to have at least phone reception for emergencies, especially with two small children. Thankfully nothing did happen, but it could have.
Secondly, I run a small home business and of course this blog which did need some attention over a two week period – nothing serious or time consuming, just the reply to the odd email or client query, but nothing that can be really picked up by anyone else at this stage. I know I lost out on some potential business because of it, perhaps this would have happened because I was on holiday anyway, who knows. I did go to a café with free WiFi on a couple of occasions because I needed to for these reasons, but it’s not really the same.
Thirdly, and think what you may, but I missed catching up on social posts even if I would have been doing it a loss less frequently. The odd Facebook or Instagram post, being able to check my @ replies on a Twitter. Of course I wouldn’t have done it regularly, but it would have been nice to check these things once a day and see what was happening in the world.
However, it’s absence in my life for two weeks has made me think too. Sometimes I just need to put it down. My husband commented in the evenings that it was nice to not have me tapping away on my iPad while we were watching TV. It’s made me think about how much I do that, whether it’s replying to emails, writing posts, blog commenting, I do it a lot. So I have decided to have some switch off time some evenings and put the iPad or iPhone down. Also there are some shows we’ve watched I don’t remember really watching much. So that needs to change.
Sunday 28th was National Unplugging Day – on my Facebook feed I saw parents being encouraged to put their phones down and focus on their children more. So I also wondered am I plugged in too much around my children? I’m plugged in without a doubt and yes there are probably times when I should put the phone away, so it is something I need to monitor. Times I need to embrace life and not worry about tweeting or instagraming it. Overall I think I have got better at this, but it can get in the way of enjoying the moment if you’re not careful.
At the same time, we live in a switched on world. This is a world our children are growing up in, online is everywhere and will only be more abundant when they’re older. It has also given me and many other parents opportunities they didn’t have before. Opportunities to work around our families and more flexibility for our home lives. Online is here and here to stay and I don’t want it to go away. I love blogging, it’s a creative expression, it’s slowly turning into a business, it’s social, but also it’s my little space on the internet.
On the run up to my holiday, I did a lot of blogging, this is because I wanted posts scheduled for the period I was away. This was helped by the lovely guest bloggers that gave me some great content. But it also meant that I did more blogging than usual. I got to the point where I thought this is getting a bit crazy. There is a fine line between enjoying life and spending so much time blogging about it that life whizzes by. As with anything in this life, it is a balancing act.
This is how I feel about being unplugged. I don’t want to be without it, I believe it enhances our modern, digital lives. I love blogging, social media, What’s App, emails and messages. But it needs to be handled with caution (and that’s without me even going into appropriate social content which is a whole new blog post), let it add to your life, but don’t let it take over. While I may not have enjoyed two weeks unplugged it has made me reconsider the balance it has in mine. I do need to unplug at times and put the device away or in future years I may end up being something I regret.
That being said, I have to say next year’s holiday home will probably have WiFi added to the requirements list.
How would you feel if you had to go two weeks unplugged? Would you love it like my husband or hate it like me?