phone email

On leaving technology behind for a while

Following on from my single-tasking experiment (which is rapidly becoming a habit), I’ve also been thinking and talking about going off-grid for a bit. Just for 24 or 48 hours at a time to start with.

Imagine. No phone, no laptop, no tablet/Kindle/internet.

No screens (except possibly the one on my camera).

No Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram… Pinterest is a particular offender at the moment, because I can spend three hours pinning things in front of a screen and then feel like I’ve been creative without actually having exercised a single creative muscle.

I love them all – but talking to the lovely Sarah, Lisa, Nina and Louise last week, I realised that I’ve not been without my mobile since I got it at the age of 14. That’s HALF MY LIFE.

I’ll happily admit that one of the reasons I love living alone so much is modern technology – on the rare occasions I’d prefer company and haven’t already organised it, I can communicate with someone in moments. But as a result I barely know my neighbours, and make less effort to see my local friends than I would otherwise. (We all acknowledge this – but don’t often do anything about it.)

I’m also conscious that I couldn’t have the lifestyle I do, or run the businesses I do, if the internet didn’t exist. And I don’t want it to un-exist. It’s a massive resource, a valuable tool and an altogether incredible concept.

And it would be daft to pretend that I don’t invite much of this contact in – I’m well aware that I make a lot of effort to contact and stay in touch with people using all sorts of social media because it’s convenient.

But I wonder how much more I could have achieved if Facebook didn’t exist, if I didn’t spend hours scrolling through Twitter, pinning on Pinterest, liking photos on Instagram. What if I was out there capturing even more of my own images, getting lost without the assistance of Google maps? Having coffee with people instead of chucking a vague Facebook message their way?

And then I saw this, and it cemented my intentions.

I’m not going to give it up entirely. But I am going to have 48 hours off grid while I’m away, and then try and work up to having a day a week free from screens, the internet and the pervasive nature of social media.

Of course, there’s a possibility I’ll hate it, and like all habits, it’ll be hard to break. But I suspect my life, this blog, and my relationships will be all the richer for it.

Have you ever been off-grid? Or restricted your use of screens, social media, phones for a while?