Recently my husband, Willy, and I went camping. My daughter, Nicole, and her husband Zach, joined us. Nicole, Zach and Willy LOVE camping. Me? Not so much. I especially dislike walking 1/2 mile to go to the bathroom (especially at night - what about the bears!). And, as a mom, all the laundry that goes with camping. Sleeping bags, muddy shoes, dirty sweatshirts, wet tents. Can you feel my pain?
Last summer we discovered Under Canvas in South Dakota - the ultimate in glamping (glamorous camping) and fell in love. We decided to return to the Under Canvas location in the Great Smoky Mountains. And, it was amazing and did not disappoint.
As a blogger, I usually schedule my posts, pins, and instagram stories ahead of time. So that when I go on vacation I don’t have to think about it. For some reason I forgot to do that before we left and did not realize it until we were in the car. No worries right?! I can do it when I get there, right? Wrong - our campsite had NO cell service and NO wifi. What?! How can that be?
I was totally stressed. Since it was Saturday and my post was not going out until Monday….I thought I could put it aside for a few days. Only it was always in the back of my mind. Over the course of the next 2 days we figured out where we could get service.
Under Canvas was on a gravel road - so where the gravel met the pavement was an ok spot (going to make a t-shirt that says - 'Where the Gravel meets the Pavement you will find…’ on the front and then on the back ‘Wifi’). Anyway, when we got to a town we had cell service. But most of the time we were in the mountains swimming in cold streams or hiking to water falls with no service.
To add to the no cell phone service dilemma….my birthday was that Sunday. I knew my whole family would be calling and texting me to say hi. And I would miss out on that. Since birthdays only come once a year (thankfully) I hated to miss all that.
So what happened?
I realized how many times I pick up my phone every day. How many times I look for a little red circle with a number in it. How many times I checked facebook or all the Instagram Stories (cause I don’t want to miss out on anyone’s real life highlight reel right?)
How about you? How many times a day do you pick up your phone to look at random stuff that does not really matter?
It did not take me long to realize my phone was useless (quick study here)….and I stopped picking it up. I only communicated with my husband, daughter, son-in-law and the people I met around me. That was it. Period! And oh man….it was so nice. I felt ever present and engaged.
When we did have cell service or wifi we let our texts update - but checked them when we were alone. A few times my phone rang (birthday well wishers) and I did not answer it - I wanted to continue to stay ever present.
Let me ask you a question….or two.
How many times a day do you pick up your phone? Are you in a room with other people and looking at your phone? Are you in a check out line looking at your phone or talking….and ignoring the person who is there checking you out? Does reading your emails trump conversations with your family?
What about your kids? Are they on your phone or iPad all the time? Is that the only way they know how to entertain themselves?
I am not saying to not use your phone….but I realized that our phones should not take the place of who is around us.
I also came to the conclusion that we are living in a totally disconnected world….trying to stay connected via Instagram and Facebook. We are unable to connect with the people around us because we are connected to our technology and social media (nothing social about it!). As a result, our relationships and communication skills are totally suffering.
I would like to offer a challenge - pretend you have no wifi or cell service. No one can use any technology for 2 days. Or even 4 (it takes a few days to adjust). Unplug. What happens? Or maybe no technology after 5. What happens? Any thing cool and great? Let me know - make a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
One last thing…when I got home I really missed Nicole and Zach. My post did go out, The rest had to wait until I got home.