My wife and I just returned from the trip of a lifetime. We celebrated our 30th anniversary, a year late, by traveling to the Galapagos Islands. If you’re not sure where they are, neither was I until last week. We traveled first to Miami, then to Guayaquil, Ecuador and then on one more flight to the islands 500 miles off the coast.
Once we arrived in the Galapagos, we then got on a boat with about 90 other folks for a week of exploring the islands made famous by Charles Darwin over 175 years ago.
As you might guess, our trip was outstanding – time for just Donna and me, great scenery, plentiful wildlife, good food, and more. These were the things you might have anticipated from a trip like this and we were not disappointed. However, one of the unexpected treats was being unplugged for a week.
Yes, I had pre-loaded posts on this site and the folks that help me manage my social media promoted my new content on Twitter, but I was virtually unplugged. As I’ve thought about it, I can’t remember the last time I was without email, text, voice mail or phone for an extended period of time. It may have been in Nepal in 2008? Even then, I seem to remember us making numerous calls using satellite phones.
I’m not ready to suggest that you should unplug for a week, but maybe you should consider a short break in connectivity. Here are a few benefits I found from just a few days of being unplugged…
- I found it easier to stay connected to the people I was with.
- It was easier to release the work I left behind at the office.
- I was able to relax more. (As much as you can while trekking, snorkeling, kayaking and taking about 5,000 pictures.)
- I saved a lot of money. The satellite phone on the boat was $5 per minute!
- I was able to think more deeply about a select few things without the typical distractions of technology and ubiquitous connectivity.
One of the reasons I could unplug is the amazing team I work with back at the office. I understand some of you don’t have a team to ease the trauma of being unplugged. My encouragement to you is to try it anyway. Even if it’s just for a day or two. Perhaps you could try it over a weekend. If you feel the need, you could even leave a message indicating your intentions to go dark for 48 hours.
Please don’t misunderstand, I love our connected world. I love chocolate too, but I don’t eat it at every meal. This past week reminded me you can be social, at least for a short season, without being connected 24/7.
Here’s to deeper conversations… unplugged.
Have you ever tried to unplug for more than a day? What lessons did you learn?