Monday, July 19, 2010

The Value Of Getting Away From It All...

Last week I was on vacation. Before I left I vowed to my wife and my family I would completely unplug. After my wife picked herself off the floor because she was laughing so much she said I couldn't do it. Even on Twitter, there were bets going around that I would "show up" at some point and send a tweet.

I vacationed on the North Carolina Outer Banks, some of the most beautiful country around. We were in the remote village of Carova Beach, accessible only by 4x4 Wheel Drive vehicles because our beach house was literally on the beach. Almost 10 miles of our drive was on the sandy shores. It was a wonderful location, within a few feet of the beach and best of all, no TV and no Internet access. And our only neighbors were the wild horses that have lived on the beach since the 1600's. It is truly an amazing place.

Normally the No Internet access would bother me. I don't even stay in hotels that don't have free Internet of some kind. But this time was different. I was committed. I wanted to take a break. I wanted to completely unplug my life and just relax.

And I did just that. No Twitter, Internet, Computer or phone. There was not even cell phone service where we were so I could not be tempted to tether up and cheat. I just unplugged. I read a few great books, mostly fiction (some educational reform stuff), watched my daughter as she saw the ocean for the first time, hung out with my family and just relaxed.

I needed this. I spend a great deal of my time in front of a screen. Whether it be working on my various projects or getting things ready for the school year to begin or just watching the Tweets roll by. It is easy to forget that there is life outside of all this social media stuff.

I can't complain. Spending as much time as I do on Twitter, working on #Edchat or other social media interests has allowed me to do some pretty amazing things, and for that I am grateful. But unplugging is just as important as being plugged in. While I was gone from all my toys and from being connected I missed it at first. It was weird the first day not firing up my computer to check the Twitter stream from over night or the even just the news or my RSS reader. But as the days went on I just forgot about it. I didn't give it a thought as I spent time resting and relaxing.

We can get all wrapped up in our blogs and our Twitter life or even just our need to be plugged in 24/7. But take some time to unplug for a while, even if just for a few hours. And when you come back, I bet you will appreciate all that you missed. And trust me, it will be there waiting for you.

So how do you unplug? If you have been or are going on vacation this summer did you take a computer or a phone? Or did you leave them all behind? How do you get away from it all and take a break from social media. Leave some comments below.
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