Sunday, February 12, 2006

Unplug Me

I travel for work, so I spend a lot of time in airports. The past few years, I've noticed how many people are "connected" while traveling. We have our cell phone, our PDA, our laptop. We have voice mail, text-messaging, instant messaging, and email. All are connected to work, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year.

This means no "down time" - no respite from work. I'm not saying it's all bad. I agree that there are times when it is important to be available. But what I do not like, are those "technology junkies" who are answering their phones in inappropriate places. Like restaurants. Churches. Theaters. Funeral services.

Yes, I have experienced them all. I recently attended a wedding in a beautiful old church in North Carolina. During the ceremony, four different cell phones rang. Two of the phones had ring tones that were "gangster rap" songs. Nice touch to a sacred ceremony. One of the ringing phones belonged to a groomsman.

Why is it that we feel compelled to be connected all the time? Is it because it makes us feel needed? Important? Are we afraid we're going to miss something? Is it because our boss might think we aren't as dedicated as the employees who are always available (even on vacation)?

And when was the last time any of us took a "vacation"...I mean a REAL vacation. No phones, no TV, no computer, no alarm clock. There is a new trend in vacation travel called "office detox". These places offer a place to truly remove yourself from the world of work.

One such place is Little Palm Island in the Florida Keys ( Thatched-roofed individual bungelows offer the ultimate escape from the stresses of our over-connected, mutitasking lives.

Think about it...a whole week, with no phone calls, emails or faxes. Could you do it? If you don't think you could, then you definitely need detoxing.

Our need to be connected, has gotten a little crazy. We should all find a hammock somewhere and take a long nap. Leave the cell phone. Daydream. Unplug ourselves. And let our minds and souls take a vacation, along with our bodies.

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