23 March 2011

How I went internet free on my vacation...and it didn't cost me a thing

A few months ago when I sat down to plan my vacation to Florida the main things I was concerned about were the flights (being at times that worked for me and were not expensive), the hotel (to be safe and not far from where my friend lived), and saving money towards all the extra things ie. eating out and activities. Never once on my list of things to think about was anything to do with how many blog posts I'd miss out on reading right away, what Facebook status updates I'd be too busy to comment on, or what tweets I should send to let everyone know what I was up to. No, my list was pretty simple.

Things were shaping up quite well for my trip. I found an additional cleaning job, the money from which, I put in my savings to go towards eating out and activities. I found decently priced airfare, although it was from Chicago, which is 3 hours away. Then I located a place to park and ride, so no worrying about my car. And I was able to find a reasonably priced, safe, close hotel to where my friend lives.

It wasn't until the week before my trip that I started thinking. If I'm going to truly relax on this vacation there were some things I would be handling differently. For starters, I packed at least 8 books to read; on planes, in the airports, while I was waiting for my friend to get out of his classes (it wasn't his spring break), and in the car while we drove around.

The other thing I considered was my music. I LOVE music. So I created a playlist of songs on my iPod to enjoy while I was doing all those things listed above. The last thing I thought about was the internet. I have an iPhone. Yup I have a smartphone near me, pretty much all day. Which can be great, at the same time it can be a huge pain in the behind.

Do you ever add up all the time you spend on your smartphone? Computer? Other techy device? I am sure I spend more then enough time on my devices. The only way I attempt to balance things out is by reading lots of wonderful books. Sorry, back to the topic at hand. So, while I was considering my vacation, the internet factored in. Could I really stop myself from checking facebook, twitter, my email accounts, as well as all the blogs that I follow?

The answer is a resounding YES. BUT, it took some work on my part to figure out a way that I would stick to this plan of avoiding the internet. The first thing I did once I got to the airport, was delete the Facebook and Twitter apps off my phone. You may ask 'Why did you do that?' Well I knew if the apps were ON my phone, I'd turn them on and check them. However, if the apps weren't easily accessible, I would not mess with downloading them just to check a status.

After deleting those two apps the only apps I ended up using were Whrrl, because I needed a timeline for my photos once I got home. I knew I'd be able to go to the Whrrl website and check what day/time I had gone to eat or done an activity. I also used Yellow Pages and Poynt a couple of times, when we were looking for a certain type of food to eat or places we wanted to visit, but weren't quite sure how to find.

To the left is the Notes app, and the actual journaling I did on my phone..

I also admit to using the Notes app, which is not internet based, at the end of each day to write out what we had done for journaling/blogging purposes. I actually was able to use those

notes to write a blog post. But other than those few apps, I didn't text or call anyone other than my parents and my friend when he was on his way to get me from the hotel. I only checked the email that came to my phone periodically to be sure my mom, who is a notorious emailer rather than calling, hadn't sent me messages.

At this point, over a week and half later, I still have not re-downloaded Facebook and Twitter. It is refreshing to have to wait until I purposely am get online at home to check those two social media devices. I am pretty sure this is one of the best vacations I've taken recently. In fact, I can honestly tell you that I was more relaxed, calm, and able to enjoy my surroundings because I wasn't worried about anyones issues (facebook), or busy responding to someones questions or thoughts (twitter).

 I'm also finding that now that I am home, I spend less time on facebook. I've also noticed that I do not keep the window open all day, I periodically check it. Same goes for twitter. I might be missing something and I am okay with that. I'm more okay with the fact that lately, I have been more invested in the here and now. I started cooking dinner once a week to help my mom out. I am working on cleaning out my stuff and figuring out what I really need to have. I have already gotten one garbage bag of donations together for Goodwill. As well as a bag of things that can't be donated. I have read more books in the week and a half then I did in the two months before my vacation.

So now you know how I went internet (mostly) free on my vacation. What will you do on yours?

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