Personal

A vacation from social media

Ablackfew months ago I got an e-mail from a client on the first day back from their honeymoon. She talked about her holiday and how amazing it was to be without Internet for the week, and I was admittedly envious of her escape from social media, texting and E-mails.

A few weeks later, Shaun and I made the long move from Guelph to Ottawa, ON where we now live. Of course, – as with any move – it takes a while to unpack your boxes and set up utilities, so we expected to be without Internet for a couple weeks while we settled in to our new home. At first, in a way I guess I felt a bit like my client: on a mini vacation from WiFi. With the date set for our Internet hookup, I settled in to life without Internet and happily kept myself busy; I finished Sudoku puzzles in the newspaper, read hardcover books from cover to cover, spent time with my nephew without distractions, and even listened to my own iTunes playlists (no Internet = no Songza), which hadn’t been heard in months. It was like being at the cottage and finding new means to entertain yourself, in ways that always came second to electronics…

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…At first, it was good fun, but soon I began to feel the lonely pang of Internet withdrawal…We had just moved in to a new house, in an unfamiliar part of the city, and had few friends in the area. The promise of two weeks without internet soon became 3 weeks, and before long, we had gone over a month without the glorious outlets of Instagram, Facebook and E-mail. Simple tasks that were typically answered by a quick Google search, soon became long, tedious efforts. Forget if ‘Emmys’ has one or two ‘m’s for the newspaper crossword puzzle? Too bad…Want to cook your favourite Pinterest recipe? Not happening…Need to do online banking? No chance!…I learned to complete tasks in ways I wasn’t used to trying anymore, and all of a sudden, dictionaries, cookbooks, and the Yellow Pages were back on the table.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…#firstworldproblems. But seriously, if you haven’t gone without Internet in a while, I challenge you to go without it for one week. And that includes no cell phone data! I never realized how dependent I was on the platform until it was taken away.

Now that we have Internet again, I like looking back to see what unusual things I achieved. Sure, it would have been easier to locate the closest Starbucks, and yes, I would have figured out that ‘SAHARAN’ was the answer to 41 Across…but living without it meant that I had to be more creative, and more adventurous, and ultimately, I’m glad I got to experience a bit of life unplugged.

But, like any vacation, it was a real treat to come home and sleep in my own bed again. Welcome back Internet.


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