For the last few years, I’ve taken an annual “tech-cation.” The tech-cation is a vacation from technology, an unplugging, if you will. During this tech-cation, I unplug from technology that isn’t specifically related to work. I cut out TV, internet, email, texts, computer . . . everything. The only exceptions are music (which I only have on an iPod these days) and phone calls. I will allow myself 15 minutes of “news” (TV or Internet) although many days I skip it because news tends to lean toward the TMZ-friendly story than anything Peter Jennings would’ve reported.
I use the tech-cation as a time to detach myself from a screen and try to get back to a simpler life. A life where I wasn’t required to respond to everything RIGHT NOW. I miss being unavailable. I miss not finding out non-news until days later. Even when I avoid social media, I am still bombarded with celebrity news. It’s almost as if journalists have been replaced by bloggers. Photo journalists have been replaced by paparazzi. And actual news, things that matter, end up at the bottom of the news feed while some Hollywood toss up’s baby is front and center. (Yes, I said “toss up” and I’m not deleting i!). My tech-cations are used catching up on my reading, practicing the guitar, making jewelry, writing, all of the things that I really enjoy but never really have time to do.
This year’s tech-cation will be a bit more difficult. Most of my books are now on an electronic device. I don’t enjoy buying books anymore because 80% of the things I read, I don’t ever need to read again. I don’t need to keep them for reference, and I don’t want them cluttering my shelves. I guess I’ll buy a few books and donate them when I’m done.
Normally the tech-cation lasts a week, or so. This year I may extend it for a bit. Maybe I’ll just stay unplugged until I feel like coming back online. My hope is always that when the tech-cation is over, that I’ll no longer feel the need to be so connected. But it’s addictive! Two days after the tech-cation is over, I’m right back at like I never left. My hope is that by extending the tech-cation, I won’t feel the need re-connect in the same way. I am adding a new exception to the tech-cation. I will allow myself to post blogs. I can use my laptop to type my blogs, while disconnected from the internet, and upload to my site. I won’t be reading or responding to comments. I will be only be posting. I may post daily to share details of the tech-cation, but I may not. We’ll just see how it goes.
The tech-cation usually starts in October. But I’m feeling the need to disconnect sooner than that. I may start after the holiday . . . provided I can wait that long.