I Think You Should Put Your Phone Away

Reflecting on a recent digital detox while camping in the Catskills, I realized the power of disconnecting
I Think You Should Put Your Phone Away

When was the last time you digitally detoxed?

I unintentionally did this past weekend while camping in the Catskills and it was awesome.

We were only a few hours from home but cell service was almost non-existent and after my phone died, I did something many of us would consider quite revolutionary.

I let it stay dead.

Now, truthfully, I did try and charge it but for whatever reason I had a bad cable or something else preventing me, so I just put it away.

Can you guess what happened next?

Not much, to be honest — in fact, I’m struggling to think of one issue that couldn’t be categorized into one of the following buckets

  • Things that could wait until I’m back.

  • Things that were solved without my intervention.

  • Things that just weren’t that important and could be let go.

My biggest takeaway was that life (and business) more or less just kept going on.

Sure, I may have missed out on some photo opportunities such as stand up paddling with Rylo on the front of the board and Atlas swimming along side me, but there were usually enough friends with their phones nearby to capture most of these moments as they happened.

In the past I’ve written about my experiments with Digital Minimalism. I still actively practice not keeping social media apps on my phone and setting limits around personal screen time but none of this works better than just letting your phone die and not recharging it.

I can’t help but think back to my early travels to Nicaragua in 2010/2011 when the telecom infrastructure at the beaches was more or less non-existent.

My now vintage iPhone went into my bag for weeks on end and our internet usage was relegated to about 2 hours at night when the generators ran.

We used this time to jump onto a communal dialup connection to answer important emails, let family and friends know we were alive and maybe catch up on current events back home.

Today, wireless broadband access is pretty ubiquitous in the country, and it’s pretty common to see a farmer riding on a horse or an ox chatting away or checking Facebook from their smartphone.

It was certainly frustrating back then but a big part of me does miss the days of being able to completely disconnect from the rest of the world and, like this past weekend, life (and business) still managed to go on.

back to writing

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