Family time, unplugged

I unplug to escape stuff like this. (Me! In Times Square!)

I unplug to escape stuff like this. (Me! In Times Square!)

As a freelance writer, I have to stay connected most of the time. My business depends on it—if I miss an email from an editor, I might miss out on a potential assignment, which means missing out on cold cash.

Generally speaking, I don’t mind this constant state of connectedness. It enables me to stay on top of trends, and to build my brand as a family travel blogger by posting Instagram pictures and other social media missives when we travel as a clan.

Still, every now and again, it’s nice to take a trip on which I’m completely unplugged.

Powerwoman and I try to take one such trip every year. For better or for worse, these tech-free trips usually happen when the two of us have the opportunity to steal away together, without the girls. In fact, we leave later today for four days of disconnected bliss on the Mendocino County coast (which is about three hours from our home).

The plan for these trips is pretty simple: Keep me away from technology at all costs. No Facebooking. No Tweeting. No Instagramming. And almost certainly no email.

Of course going away without the children necessitates a certain degree of connectivity; my mother-in-law, who’s watching the girls back at our place, needs to be able to reach us in case of an emergency. What’s more, Powerwoman often brings her phone so the two of us have at least one camera to document great places and fun times.

Still, for me, these trips are glorious. Because I get to just be in the moment. Every moment. All day long.

Preparing for our tech-free vacations always reminds me just how dependent on technology we’ve become. It also inspires me to try to be more tech-free in my everyday life. Especially when I’m with the kids: Do I really need to check my phone every time the damn thing vibrates or sends me a notification?

Of course the answer is no. And of course it will be far more difficult to ask and answer that question one month from now, when this unplugged vacation is long over and I’m back in the thick of life. Still, the question itself is a good one. And the self-examination it inspires almost always leads to more self-awareness, and at least the recognition that I could and must be better.

The bottom line: We all could stand to ditch some technology. I challenge you to take the same break in your life and evaluate the consequences. Big changes take time. This one’s worth waiting for.

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