Vacationing off the Grid

July 19th, 2011
Oceanview from Vijitt Resort, Phuket - Photo credit: Debbie Friez

Oceanview from Vijitt Resort, Phuket - Photo credit: Debbie Friez

Around this time last year, I asked, “Do you need to unplug from social media?” in a BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas post. At the time, I admitted I couldn’t completely do it, but I had tried to limit my time online.  Realizing I might need a break from the noise, I decided to try harder, this year. I was NOT taking my BlackBerry with me on vacation to Singapore and Phuket, Thailand.

Reality Check
Be honest. Can you live without a mobile phone? The real answer should be a resounding “Yes,” but it’s not easy! My husband and I are used to being able to contact each other whenever we want, so the idea of “no phones” did not seem plausible. Our trip started with a work conference for my husband, so he would need his work BlackBerry. I decided to take his personal BlackBerry, but turn-off any roaming ability for data. This would limit me to when I was in network (U.S. only) and WiFi areas for anything but calling and texting. I don’t have the text posting ability set-up for Facebook and Twitter, so I wouldn’t be tempted to post that way.

Despite our preparations, it was harder than I thought to turn off our electronics! I love posting my observations (that I think are funny or interesting), and suddenly, I couldn’t! I did bring my BlackBerry Playbook this way, if there was WiFi, usually in public areas of the resorts, when I was admiring the beautiful view from the Singapore Flyer, I could only take pictures and record with my Flip camera. When I caught a couple taking “action shots” of each other on the beach, I could only laugh. (I couldn’t even point, because that is very rude in Asian cultures.)

However, the time difference actually made my limited time online easier to handle. Very few friends were online when I was, so I didn’t linger as long as usual. I discovered Peter Shankman was also in Thailand, so I asked him for advice on where to go. It was comforting to know I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t sleep and was posting at what would be the middle of the night back home on the East coast.

On the downside, I felt very disconnected when I missed the Google + launch announcement. I started noticing tweets about the new platform, and had to ask what everyone was talking about. I wasn’t able to access Gmail, so I was crazed not knowing if I had an invite? I didn’t.

I didn’t go “cold turkey” so I could still get my social media fix, occasionally. I really enjoyed sharing with my Facebook family and friends some of our daily adventures, instead of waiting until we returned. It also allowed friends to ask questions and give suggestions for places to see. I would have liked to checked-in to Foursquare from the Big Buddha or the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, but I’m not sure it would have benefited anyone else. I think my mini-vacation from parts of social media, was useful and relaxing… Once, I got over the initial shakes!

You can check out other posts on disconnecting on vacation—

Will you be going on a digital diet for your summer vacation? Do you have any tips to share?

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