It was two hours till my plane took off for Fiji and I was sitting in a restaurant near LAX fretting. Ahead lay ten days of aquatic bliss and tropical adventure, yet I was freaking out. It was a bad case of digital rash because my cell phone wouldn’t work in Fiji. We might have WiFi, or might not – it would certainly be limited. Worries about business, family and friends swirled because I was going off the (internet) grid. Saying no to working vacations was an idea hard to fathom.
Admittedly it was a misguided sense of personal importance, a “first world problem,” classic FOMO (Fear of missing out) and all. Luckily the inflammation passed before we touched down. The trip was a wonder. Everything worked out and WiFi was abundant enough. More importantly I relaxed, reconnected with myself, with the natural world and discovered new friends in my fellow travelers and the generous, gorgeous Fijian people. None of which would’ve been possible if my nose were constantly pinned to my phone or laptop.
A study by the University of Michigan has shown that WiFi use on vacation has jumped more than 40%. The number of people using smart phones has tripled and wireless use was proven higher on vacation than at home (25 percent). Also telling, figures show that people use the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).
There has to be a better way: Just say no to a working vacation!
Even in a tropical paradise there’s a need to recharge. Diving can knock you out with it’s physicality. There is a strain from spending hours under high pressure while breathing an oxygen mix far different than topside. Rest was important. So, I rationalized that spending a few hours daily resting while catching up on blog posts, processing pictures (my goal – to always have that complete before returning home) and just perhaps checking email or social media once in awhile, was not a stretch – as long as those interests were shared with my travel partners.
But I missed out according to Brian P. Moran, author, along with Michael Lenington, of the NY Times bestseller, The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months. He feels that completely un-hooking from work is absolutely essential if you want to be successful and I view success as a life that’s much more than just a viable business.
“Successful people work with great focus and intention, and they play the same way,” says Moran, “When they’re working they’re really working, and when they’re vacationing they’re really vacationing. Rest and rejuvenation are the other side of the success coin.
Give a listen to the interview I did with Brian for my podcast, The Gathering Road.
How do you make it all work? Does your vacation location depend on having WiFi? Would you not visit destination without internet access? Do you take time out from your digital life? How do you manage the stress of unplugging.
How Your Device Is Controlling You
Thank you to Protect Cell for the cool infographic and no, there’s no compensation for using it.