A Week Without the Internet

For a while now I’ve been thinking that the Internet is a major cause of stress for me. There is not much avoiding it usually. I depend on it for work at the very least. So going on vacation seemed like a good opportunity to take a break from it. And I’m not just on vacation but I’m on a cruise. There is no cell phone coverage and no Internet connection unless I want to pay some rather high prices. I have done this before – paid for an Internet connection on a cruise ship but I was working that trip. So while I can get an Internet if I really want one it is easily avoidable. If  I want to avoid it. So I’m trying.

As I write this intro it has been about 36 hours without a connection. The first half day I found myself often reaching for my cell phone to check email. It made me realize just how often I do this. If there is any “break in the action”, say waiting on line for something, my first action is to check email. This does not seem all that healthy to me. Avoiding more direct contact was not so bad until this morning.

My normal first activity in the morning is to sit at my computer and find out what is going on. I scan my email. I scan Tweetdeck looking for Twitter mentions, direct messages and scan my feed from the high priority people I follow. I also scan the Internet news, some RSS feeds, check the weather and my calendar. Usually before I even visit the bathroom let alone eat or get dressed. This morning that was not an option. It was a minor shock to my system.

During the day is easy because I have plenty to do. Food, pool, onboard entertainment, etc. Plus I brought a bag full of books. Reading a good book distracts me from anything. I haven’t been reading a lot for the last several years because the Internet grabs me first and I don’t get to the books. This also doesn’t seem healthy to me. I miss my books. I have really enjoyed reading the last several days. My reading jag really started on the plane home from my last business trip a couple of days before the cruise.

Still more then a few times I have wanted to look something up on the Internet and not been able to do so. I was expecting email to be the big thing I missed with blogs and Twitter being next. But being able to look something up is running in the lead so far with Twitter in a strong second place. We’ll see if this changes during the rest of the trip.

Tomorrow should be easy because we are going on an excursion to see some Mayan ruins. There are things to do on the ship when we get back. Keeping busy my be the answer for me. But so far the break from the Internet hasn’t hurt me. On the other hand there is going to be a huge backlog of email when I get home.

[Note: posted on my return, well most of the way home, from vacation. Still no email because I let my password expire but I hope to fix that tonight or tomorrow morning.]

One Response to “A Week Without the Internet”

  1. Matt says:

    I wonder how I’d do. I find myself doing the same thing. I’m waiting in line, so I’ve got to be doing something, so I check my e-mail. It doesn’t matter that I had looked at it right before I got up and walked next door to the sub shop.

    And it’s also amazing what my iPhone has done for discussions. Someone will discuss something and it we end up all trying to remember an actor’s name, or “arguing” over whether the air is mostly oxygen or not, and it’s easy to get an expert’s opinion from the Internet in seconds.

    The other thing I find with my Internet addiction, though, is that it’s not fulfilling. I’d assume that people who smoke crack or shoot up with heroin enjoy their vices at the time. I really don’t derive much enjoyment from surfing the web all day. (But at least the Internet doesn’t cause all my teeth and hair to fall out and kill me by age 30?)

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