The disconnected life
Jul 20, 2016
On those recent travels across Scandinavia, I had a chance to reset my expectations of what life is like when not “attached to internet” all the time. Quite unlike what I’d imagined, I can tell you.
First off, I was in fact online far more often than I originally had planned, despite having only WiFi connectivity at my disposal (only an iPad, no smartphone, no mobile roaming). Whoa… hotels, café’s, even the trains - WiFi everywhere! Most of them with a captive portal, i.e. you have to click-through to enable it, but only very few ask for any info (i.e. an email address).
The end effect:
- at least once daily checking of my email (outcome: nothing urgent)
- regular checking of news sites, mostly nu.nl and theguardian.com
- daily downloading of each edition of our Dutch newspaper (NRC)
- very frequent checking of the local weather conditions (!)
- every few days: finding out where to stay, and making reservations online
- the iPad was in permanent “don’t disturb” mode, no beeps or pings
Apart from that: nothing! - I deliberately made my email checking a bit inconvenient, by forcing myself to use XS4ALL’s webmail gateway. I never checked any of the techie sites which I normally follow.
One thing I did do in preparation of all this, was to fill up the iPad to the brim with ebooks / PDF’s to read, and podcasts (mostly TED talks) to watch and listen to. Likewise, we arranged to put ten ebooks (the limit, alas) from the local library on Liesbeth’s eReader: DRM stuff, controlled by Adobe Reader - yuck, but hey, it works.
And so that’s how we spent our time while travelling: looking at the scenery, reading, watching TED talks. Plus a bit of small talk with our fellow passengers. No “chats”. No calls. No browsing. No music streaming.
Liesbeth took lots of photos, and emailed a selection as daily diary back to our family. My parents told us later that the first thing they did in the morning was to fire up their computer and read it - enjoying the stories and the views every step along the trip.
It might all sound like business as usual, just at a reduced pace, but it really wasn’t. The one aspect standing out in all this was: no interruptions! - internet did not have any effect on how we spent our days. What a refreshing mindset, to be able to say to the internet “don’t call us, we’ll call you!” :)
Now that we’re back, during the months ahead this summer, I intend to stick to that schedule. Life’s too short for interruptions.
What surprised me most: I’m not interested in hearing about the latest techie news right now, echoing around the walls of all those hacker and maker sites. That too can wait!
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