At the end of last week, I went off the grid. We packed our car full of camping equipment, turned all the gadgets off , placed them in a draw, and went into the wilderness. Well, that’s not quite true, we were nowhere near wilderness on a camping site with showers and entertainment – however we were as far as we can realistically go with Lucie’s disability.
Four days, spent doing nothing but walking, talking and enjoying each other's company. There might have been a bit of drinking and eating going on too, but it was a wonderful experience to just unplug and get away from everything. I did take my camera with me, but it was the only electronic thing we had with us. No phones, no watches, and nothing to take your attention away from the present time.
I would like to say it was a glorious experience. Indeed, it was a very enjoyable one, and we had lots of fun and learnt lots about each other and ourselves. However, in times like this, you realise just what a difference tech makes to your life and you as a person. I have written several times about my realisation that to truly live in a modern world, you can’t be completely disconnected. The world always needs an online application here, and an app for banking there – but there is nothing like just pulling the plug for a bit.
I observed numerous behaviours in myself that are totally technology-based. I found myself trying to check my email on my watch, despite not having one on. Not only that, but I tried to claim my Costa points despite having no phone, and I lost count of the number of times I swear I could feel my phone vibrating. Despite all this weirdness, it was fantastic, and I will do it again more often.
I am already in a habit of leaving my phone at home and relying on my favourite minimalist phone, but I am determined to try to do more. I truly think a period of going offline should be mandatory for everyone. Even if you discover you hate it, you’ll appreciate it even more.