I wrote the following blog just before this journey began in the fall of 2013. I re-read it this past week, after landing in Indonesia, and it inspired me. The longer we have been away, the more we have relied on devices to build a location independent business. We rely on technology for books, core curriculum, travel planning, and staying in touch with loved ones.
Lately, we have been busy building a social media platform and working to promote our book and digital products. While some of it has been remarkable, most of it has been laborious and time-consuming. We have slowly become less deliberate in our use of technology and more distracted. It is time for a change. We feel out of alignment which calls for a renewed commitment to looking up at the world around us.
We are going to try an experiment. For the next week, we will completely unplug. No computers, phones, televisions, or devices of any kind for any of us. Thanks to modern technology there will be no interruption in what our subscribers expect from us as we were able to schedule all of that in advance. We look forward to sharing our experiences with you and the inspired actions that are born from the quiet. Stay tuned …
When I was in elementary school, every morning at 6 am, I would wander from my bed sleepily to the front porch to check the weather for the day. Some days it was eminently clear what the day would bring. The splash of the rain on my toes confirmed the patter that invaded my dreams the night before. There were also those rare summer days in the Pacific Northwest where you know it is going to be perfect from the second the sun comes up. No fog needs to lift or mist needs to clear. The day has dawned and it smelled of blackberries and sweet hay.
There were other days when it wasn’t as clear. I would stand there, as the air washed over me, and feel the day. Sometimes I could smell rain or see a pewter snow cloud in the distance or feel that a marine mist was settling in. I would watch the cedars and pines rustle but hold tight to their goods to maintain our Evergreen State reputation. I would wake up with the day slowly and see what it had to tell me, long before I spoke a word to anyone.
Now, I often look down at my phone, instead of through the window to check the weather. I often trust my GPS, even when it doesn’t feel right versus stopping to ask for directions. Sometimes I text neighbors to ask for a cup of sugar instead of just walking over to say hello. Times have changed …
Perhaps it is a romantic notion to think of moving away from smart technology in an effort to “connect” with each other more. We want our kids to be wise in the ways of technology just as they are in other subjects, but we do not want to look down anymore.
We are leaving on this journey with one laptop, no data plan, and no handheld entertainment devices. We will watch TV in other languages, scour local libraries for books in English, and ask for directions in our best attempts at local languages. We will lean on each other and at times, on total strangers, to help us navigate the world through the people who inhabit each place. I get a little teary thinking about turning in my smartphone, but the truth is just because it makes my life easier, I am certain it is not making me smarter. I was much more resourceful and courageous before we met.
Pie in the sky? Maybe, but the excitement I feel just thinking about it, discomfort and all, lets me know it is exactly the right thing to do.
Here’s to looking up through rose-colored glasses!
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