In a bit of irony, a couple weeks ago I recently got into a discussion with a client (who’s also a friend) about unplugging from everything while we were discussing a Twitter application developed by the company I work for. She was talking about the anxiety that’s already building up as she plans an unplugged weekend. While I won’t exactly be completely “off the grid” during my sabbatical, I will definitely not be as accessible overseas (phone, text, no work email) as I am now.
I’ve unplugged before for a couple days here and there during camping trips and the like. What I’ve found so interesting about those times when I actually don’t stay so connected is that I’m OK disconnected. The world doesn’t stop if I don’t read an email or text and reply 30 seconds after it’s delivered. I don’t worry about keeping up with what the latest trends are on Twitter or what my friends are sharing (or complaining) about on Facebook. We all worry life will fall apart without being online and available. Somehow we all found ways to live without it growing up, at least those of us in their upper 20’s and above. As children, nobody told us we needed to be connected to be well adjusted and “better” human beings. (Well, perhaps I won’t speak for newer parents and kids who won’t know a life without ubiquitous high speed Internet most everywhere they go.)
Being in cultures that have been formed in rich histories and still exist in them will bring new perspectives and chances to reflect and see the world. I hope to connect to people around me in real life (“IRL”) and spend more time away from this Internet thing. I’ll be forced to because I’m not going to be near anyone I know, so if I want to be social at all, it will have to be with people I don’t know right now.
After talking to a friend this week, I’m also giving some considerable thought to taking a break from Facebook for the month, save for posting blog updates. So consider it a warning to any Facebook readers here: if you want me to know what’s going on in your life, I expect an email from you or some time where we hang out together – in person even! – when I return to the US. And if you want to keep up with me, email me to ask or follow me here.
Don’t worry, you’ll still get updates from me via trip details, (probably new) perspectives on life, and see a few photos once in a while, just don’t expect it too frequently for the next month.