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August 4, 2010

Disconnecting Gives Way to Reconnect

In this post, Tavia discovers the benefits of disconnecting …
Tavia GavinskiHow often do you truly disconnect from technology? Can you imagine a day or week without email, Facebook®, Twitter® or your cell phone? Every five years my extended family gets together for a weeklong camping adventure in Upper Michigan. And when I say camping, I don’t mean pop-up campers and showers.
I mean tents, no toilets or running water and food cooked over a campfire. It also means no cable, internet connection or cell service. Going into the trip, I wasn’t sure what I was more nervous about: the fact that I was going to be showering in a lake or not being able to check my email or Facebook account. I was a little anxious about being disconnected from my everyday routine.
On the six hour drive to Ottawa National Forest, I played Words with Friends, commented on Facebook statuses and texted more then I needed to. I tried to squeeze in as much technology as I could before losing my signal. But along the way, as the highway turned into dirt roads, I felt the need to check in slowly slip away.
I was surrounded by natural, untouched beauty: trees as far as the eye could see, the sound of the wind, sunrises over the lake. And conversation. Real human interaction. Family. Laughter. Creating memories with loved ones I hadn’t seen in years.

As the days went on, I didn’t think about tweeting or texting or IMing. My mind was clear to be in the moment, and I was free from the need to rush to my computer or phone to check in. I wasn’t concerned about what I was missing in other people’s lives or the number of emails in my inbox. I was focused on climbing waterfalls and communicating in person with my family. By the end of the trip, I was happy I survived the bugs, the leaky air mattress and the rain. I was also content that I didn’t feel the need to turn on my computer as soon as I walked in the door.

Throughout this trip into the Northwoods, I realized that sometimes we need to disconnect from technology in order to reconnect with family and friends. So although you may not be sleeping in a tent anytime soon, take a day or two to turn off your cell phone and shut down your computer. You’ll be glad you did.