To Connect Or Disconnect?

For the longest time whenever we would go away for a trip I would completely disconnect from the online world. Turn off my blackberry and my personal phone and metaphorically chuck them into the Mediterranean or whatever body of water we happened to be near. (Because water is a big thing for me - I don't feel like I've actually been on vacation unless I come into contact with water.)

One of my friends used to laugh at us, because the Hub would email her back when we were away, whereas I was completely unreachable.

Photo I "instagrammed" on our last vacation.
On our last trip away -- in the Canary Islands -- for various reasons too dull to go into, I had to at least read my work emails, so I decided as long as I was doing that that I would stay connected generally. There was free wi-fi at the hotel and I knew the Hub would be doing the same, so it wasn't like I would be ruining the atmosphere.

I was slightly nervous about this and wondered if it was the "right" thing to do because all the advice you read these days is about how dangerous this online world is for us, how it ruins our attention spans and makes us incredibly insecure and also downright twitchy.

And it definitely can do all that.

But then again, for me, all the technology I now have access to -- whether it's online video chats with my family back home, being able to text daily with my friends living halfway across the world or just finding out that a book group friend is also in Canary Wharf watching the marathon -- it all makes me feel more connected, more secure, and frankly, happier.

So how did my experiment go? I actually really enjoyed it. It was fun to be able to post some photos of what we were up to in real time. And honestly, I don't always have that much time to scroll through my social media accounts thoroughly at leisure. So I really loved that.

I think I was able to find the balance. My meditation practice really does help with my ability to pay full attention to whatever it is that I'm doing. If it's scrolling through a social media feed, fine, but then I can put the phone away and focus on reading a novel or having a leisurely lunch with the Hub. I'm certainly not checking my texts or emails on the golf course either.

Technology is never an evil in an of itself. Distractions will always come from somewhere. It's the nature of life and, let's face it, people. Fear of missing out existing long before the Internet.

The other interesting positive from this experience was that I didn't feel like I needed to catch up on much when I returned home and to the office. I had been able to deal with a few urgent things and respond to some emails without much stress at all. I even ordered our groceries online from the hotel room so that we had a stocked fridge the day after we got back. This was a pleasant effect I hadn't anticipated.

I still think it's great to take a break from technology and I have amazing memories of the weeks we have spent sailing with absolutely no connection at all to the world away from the boat. Life goes on and things get taken care of when you're not available. But I was surprised at how staying connected didn't seem "bad" for me at all on this one vacation. Will I do it again? The jury is still out. I guess it fits with my overall philosophy that one of way doing things is never better or worse and you have to find what works for you and make a decision at the time about what's right for that situation. It's all about the balance.


  1. It has been much too long since I've visited here. That looks like a terrific vacation. 😊

    1. Thanks for reading and so great to hear from you!


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