Last weekend, I went out of town. To get away, to relax, to shut down my brain – those were just a few of the many reasons for my last-minute trip. And I decided that if I was going to get away from the computer, I should get away from technology in general, so I posted this with the noblest of intentions:
Surely I could do it, right? I could keep my phone off for 36 hours, right?
I lasted a total of 11 hours, 10 of which I was either sleeping or driving.
Starting with one photo, it snowballed from there. I shared pictures on Instagram, I posted on Facebook, I checked in on Foursquare, and I even used Twitter. I got called out for not really being “off the grid” and I started thinking about it.
I didn’t check my email.
I didn’t scroll through Facebook looking at others’ feeds. I ignored all of the groups I belong to.
I didn’t glance through Instagram to see what was posted or even who liked the photos I took.
I didn’t play games on my phone or ignore the company I was with or look at my phone over and over again to see if I had any new notifications.
I didn’t even bring my phone with me when we went to the spa for massages or down to the pool.
I went away for a weekend, I relaxed by the pool, drank fruity drinks, got a massage, got some sun, ate fantastic food, and spent engaged, fully attentive time in the company of a friend. We had great conversations while ignoring everything outside of our little circle.
And yes, while I shared some of the happiness and fun that I was having with the online world, I didn’t partake in anything that the world wanted to offer me – whether it consisted of stressful emails, funny Facebook memes, or heavily filtered Instagram food photos. I wasn’t compelled to see what I missing and was content to enjoy my time to the fullest extent I could.
In my mind, that totally counts as being off the grid.
Actually, you know what? It’s better than being off the grid – I was able to use technology without being reliant on it and without disrupting my ability to have fun and be present in the moment. I was proximate to the grid. And if that’s as far as I can get to being completely off the grid? I’m okay with that.