I’m as guilty as the next person of being on my phone and laptop more often than I should be. Not only is it easy to check these devices way too often but it’s also way too easy for a short session of “checking important messages” to become a largely forgotten hour down the technology rabbit hole.
While getting ready for a 4-night stay at the beach last week my wife, Sarah, sent a wave of shock through the family by saying, “when we’re away let’s put our phones in a box by the door and not use them”. “OK”, I said, liking this radical idea of going tech free, but not convinced whether it would really happen. Surprisingly, my soon-to-start-high-school, just-got-a-phone-for-Christmas, daughter Audrey also said she would give this a go.
I’m very pleased to report that we all succeeded in our phone free quest and that the holiday was all the better for it. There were times when I felt the pull to break the pledge but we kept each other tech free and on target.
As it turns out, going tech free on our holiday had a number of benefits:
- We found that time passed more slowly and the holiday felt longer than it was
- We enjoyed each other’s company better than ever
- We got into “holiday mode” more quickly and found ourselves really relaxed (I was so relaxed I forgot to take the apartment key out of my pocket and lost it in the ocean one day – oops!)
- We read novels, in my case the excellent Your Fathers, Where are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live for Ever by Dave Eggers
- We noticed the things around us – for example, the planes passing close overhead became interesting rather than annoying when we started playing “guess the airline” and watching them more closely
- We made the time to do something we haven’t done before as a family, hiring going on a kayak paddle together
- We got to bed much earlier than usual and we slept like logs
Since the holiday ended and normal life has resumed we’ve started using our devices again, albeit a bit less and a bit more consciously than before.
I’m pretty sure we’ll be needing another tech free holiday soon. I’m looking forward to it already.