My Week Off The Grid

by Jeb Banner

I recently resolved to go a week completely off the grid- no email, Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc. It helped that it was also a week that my family would be spending at Union Pier on Lake Michigan. But let's be honest, how often do we truly "unplug" for vacations. I never have. In the past I have always checked email several times a day, taken some calls and generally kept half my mind back at work. The result was that I always returned feeling half rested.

To commit I left my laptop at home and deleted all relevant apps from my phone. I did take my phone since I needed to be available for emergencies- which, thankfully, there were none. I even moved Safari to the furthest reaches of my iPhone screens so it wouldn't tempt me. 

I did go through a brief detox and experienced some digital withdraws but overall going off the grid was much easier than I expected. Within a day I reached a state of relaxation that usually takes 3-4 days, which is right before I have to leave- sound familiar? 

Did I cheat? I did succumb once to research my new obsession- Carl G Fisher. But otherwise I stayed clean. 

I wish I had been hooked up to some monitors when I reinstalled the apps on my phone. I felt sweat creep across my forehead, my heartbeat increased and my stomach started to turn. Stress, like a heavy jacket, came down on me. I hadn't realized how relaxed I really was until that moment when the grid came rushing back into my life. I would imagine it might be similar to a junkie taking a hit after being clean for a while. The body at first freaks out and then readjusts to the new normal. But let's not kid ourselves, stress ain't healthy.

The week was one of the most relaxing ones I can recall. My company survived, and even thrived, in my absences. Stuff got done and life went on without me. I spent focused time with my family, read books and slept- a lot, if you ask my wife. I highly recommend you try it on your next vacation. Don't worry, the grid will take you back with open arms, drug dealers always do.