What I Learned from a Week Without the Internet

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We didn’t even have cell service.

My husband intentionally chose not to purchase the internet package on the cruise ship. At first, I whined a little. I wanted to write my blog! After all, consistency leads to success, right? In the end, though, he persuaded me that he needed to remove the temptation to work. Otherwise, emails from his IT company would haunt our vacation–so I agreed.

Then, curious to observe the difference an unplugged week might make, I paid attention.

The results surprised me:

Evan and Marie - HQ-7359
Daniel Swanson Photography

As we tune into our devices during every moment of transition, we are letting the incredible potential of serendipity pass us by. – Scott Belsky, “Tuning in to You”

1. My life didn’t radically change.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could blame our stress and anxiety on one concrete source? In the back of my mind, I had wondered whether or not my iPhone might contribute to my frequent state of nervousness. Sadly, however, my anxiety did not vanish. In fact, some hidden issues unexpectedly resurfaced, and I had a minor anxiety attack in my cabin.

2. I did miss social media.

Vacations aren’t quite as fun when you can’t share photos with your friends. Part of enjoying an experience, for me, involves telling someone about it–or showing them. I found myself crafting captions in my mind, saving them for later. Maybe I revealed an addiction, or maybe I simply glimpsed the proper place of social media. It’s not all bad.

3. It’s good to be bored!

Staring out the window of an onboard restaurant, watching the endless sea, I realized with a shock that I hadn’t experienced boredom in a very long time. I tend to fill up any empty space. (Let’s be honest: how many of us sit on the toilet without our phones?) Allowing my mind to wander felt oddly refreshing, replenishing my creative juices.

Evan and Marie - HQ-4039
Daniel Swanson Photography

When you tune into the moment, you begin to recognize the world around you and the true potential of your own mind. – Scott Belsky, Manage Your Day-to-Day

4. I’m still in love.

An entire uninterrupted week with my husband felt like a second honeymoon. Sure, I loved watching schools of flying fish skim over the waves while sipping delicious beverages, but my favorite part of the vacation by far was spending time with him. Coming home to our time-consuming jobs, I found myself missing him all day long.

5. It’s shockingly easy to catch up.

Granted, I don’t have a thousand friends, but I managed to post my backlog of photos, check all of my notifications, and scroll through all of the posts that I missed–an entire week’s worth!–waiting for my plane at the airport. I found myself wondering, If I can catch up in half an hour … what do I spend so many hours doing on an average week?

Evan and Marie - HQ-5564
Daniel Swanson Photography

Beware the cost of constant connection. If your focus is always on others–and quenching your appetite for information and external validation–you will miss out on the opportunity to mine the potential of your own mind. – Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind

You hear about the dangers of smart phones often.

You’ve probably taken a hiatus from social media in the past–or at least considered taking one–because you worry about a culture full of people glued to screens. In my brief experience, however, the effects of the internet are less obvious and more subtle. I feel a little more aware, a little more alert, a little more interested in my surroundings.

I’m making a point to leave my phone at my desk when I visit the restroom now.

I want my brain to have little breaks more often, little opportunities to be bored.


The Reluctant Bride

Evan and Marie - HQ-7884
Daniel Swanson Photography

P.S. Have you ever taken a break from the internet? What did you learn?

4 Replies to “What I Learned from a Week Without the Internet”

  1. Breaks have been really helpful. I’ve found myself to be productive and work on redirecting my focus on what it needs to go to. Instead of simply filling in time and space, it had a purpose. I need to get back to that.

    Liked by 1 person

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