On Valentines Day 2012, something strange hit me. No, not a loose arrow from cupid’s quiver, rather a weird desire to go off of the grid.
Inspired by a friend who had done the same a few week’s prior, I gave my cell phone up for 48 hours. Short of jailing my cell phone, I put my cell phone in my boss’ hand and told her not to give it back for 48 hours.
Hence began my first real experiment with going off of the grid.
Without constant work emails, facebook and twitter, I was able to spend a nice night cooking Valentine’s Day dinner with #MyEric and focus on the life around me. I instinctively reached for my phone more than once, but found no major withdraw symptoms. I learned I wasn’t nearly as technology dependent as I thought I was prior to going off of the grid. Truth be told, this was more stressful for my boss than it was for me.
So here we go again. Tomorrow, I board a boat and head off to the great wilds of Canada, essentially going off of the grid until noon on Sunday.
No texts, no email, no tweets, no facebooking, no friends bitching about the Red Wedding on last night’s Game of Thrones.
Two takeaways here:
1. A vacation is rarely a total vacation because we’re still on the grid. There are still glimpses of work emails, students tweeting, Facebook events, etc. Going completely off the grid turns your vacation into a real retreat.
2. In Higher Ed, we spend too long worrying about our absence and what it means to our campus. We have to get over ourselves. Truth be told, our absence rarely means anything. Students will still learn. Classes will still be taught. The world will continue to turn, even if I’m not tweeting about it.