I was recently fortunate enough to go on a 3 1/2 week long road trip. I camped 20 of the 24 days of the trip and found myself in parts of the U.S. that (GASP) don’t have cell service. No data. No internet. No Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. No email. No texts. I was forced to disconnect from the digital world in a way that I haven’t since buying my first smartphone in 2010. 5 years of constantly being “connected” aka addicted to this little machine that fits in the palm of my hand. The first day was admittedly hard, I kept grabbing my phone out of habit and checking for those little reception bars. Just give me some 3G! Anything! Just one photo to the outside world to show how cool this sequoia tree is or one text to my mom to let her know we made it to Yosemite. But it didn’t take me long to embrace the “dead zones” which were ironically some of the most beautiful, alive places I’ve ever visited.
I highly recommend leaving your phone in your hotel room or tent when you’re on vacation. Just try it for a day and take note of how much more you notice. Of course I did have reception for a lot of the trip. Yes I posted photos on Instagram and Facebook, checked work email, and looked up the best restaurant for clam chowder in Newport, OR. But I also let myself lose my phone in my luggage, left it the car when we stopped for lunch, I even locked it in the glove compartment for a day. And this may seem silly but it really did make a difference!
So whether you’re on an actual vacation or have noticed you just can’t put that little buzzing device away for more than a few minutes at a time, maybe it’s time for a smartphone vacation. Perhaps disconnecting, and maybe even creating your own “dead zone” will actually help you feel more connected to your world.