24 Hours Offline – Connectivity is Addictive

I’m addicted to being connected. I admit it.

I went away with some friends for a couple days on a road trip to the Yosemite area this weekend. As soon as we left the major areas of civilization and began traveling through farmland, valleys and mountains my cellular signal became spotty and then abruptly failed.

My blackberry transformed from my link to friends, family and information into a pocket-sized camera, alarm clock and tip calculator. And while it was handy to have those things, I sorely missed my instant access to information about the sights we came across, sharing pictures and comments with friends near and far via Twitter and Facebook, and just “knowing” what was going on even though I wasn’t home making my way through my regular routine.

Instead, I enjoyed the informational displays provided by the park services about the places we visited. Shared my thoughts with those people directly around me. And much like the days before constant connectivity – I snapped photos of things to share with others later, though I wouldn’t have to wait a week to develop the film.

One of the friends joining us joked several times about my addiction to connectivity. Yet, he didn’t seem to mind when I found that 2 bars worth of the free wi-fi at our campsite trickled down to one of our cabins and I could schedule the DVR at home to record a football game he’d forgotten about out.

I went through phases of being relaxed about being cut off from the world, and phases of being frustrated by the “X” in the spot where my signal should have been. I’m glad to have had the chance to get away for this adventure, but you can bet I was thrilled when we broke out of the dead-zone and I was able watch 24 hours of emails and SMS messages flood my phone like a dam had been opened.

I think it’s okay that the stream of electronic data and the flow of the babbling brook outside our cabin door both have a place in my life. Though I think a few well-placed signs warning that “cellular coverage will end in 5 miles” would help me with the transition. Addicts can’t always go cold turkey, you know.

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