A Vacation Without Email

When I went off the grid for eight days, I put myself to the ultimate test. It wasn't pretty, but here’s what happened

by Suzanne Gerber • Next Avenue
lama new mexico image
Seriously off the grid in Lama, New Mexico
Photograph: Suzanne Gerber

You might not have noticed, but I was on vacation last week. That’s okay if you didn’t; I didn’t notice you either. I mean no disrespect. It's just that one goal of this getaway was to truly get away — something that I have almost never done.
 
Oh sure, I’ve flown to tiny, remote islands and then boarded six-seat puddle-hoppers to even tinier, more remote islands. I’ve lived on boats, slept in eco lodges and once left the country and didn’t use a phone for seven weeks. But in the Internet era, I’ve never gone more than a few days without checking my email.
 
We all know our e-world is a blessing and a curse, and have probably read scores if not hundreds of things online describing our addiction to email. And to those extensions of our hands, the things they call smartphones — not because they make us smarter, but because their makers (or at least one) is now the most valuable company in the history of the planet.
 
When I get together with friends, a popular topic is that very addiction and our ambivalence toward it. In some ways, it’s like any compulsion: We know there are aspects of it that aren’t healthy or in our best interests — and we acknowledge the damage caused by other people’s overuse of technology — but we know we can handle it. “I can stop at any time,” we tell ourselves. But can we?

(MORE: Back in Touch With Authentic Conversation)
 
It wasn’t my prime directive in last week’s vacation, but I knew I’d be seriously off the grid for a good chunk of it, so I figured it would be an interesting experiment: How long could I go without checking my email?

Click here to find out on Next Avenue.

Don’t miss out on MORE great articles like this one. Click here to sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Photo courtesy of barbaradudzinska/Shutterstock.com

What’s your reaction?

Comments

Post new comment

Click to add a comment