I went on a technology diet this weekend. I went camping with my spouse and I reserved to looking at my phone just a couple of times a day, mostly to see what time it was. Yes, we watched a movie in his truck one night but just because it was pouring rain and it was too early to go to bed. We camped at the bank of the Cheakamus river and throughout our stay we enjoyed the sound of the fast water running as well as the crackling of the ongoing fire. We cooked over the fire and made coffee in our new percolator. Breakfast was amazing prepared over our new Coleman stove. Friends came by to see us and the fun never stopped.
Believe it or not, I had my laptop with me there but I opened it once while we were in Whistler to check on my online course and see if any students needed help before the deadline of their assignment. The weekend was blissful and our thoughts were occupied with deciding when to have dinner and what to cook for breakfast the next morning. While I indulged in delicious food, I thought that I was on a technology diet. Working for a technology company and teaching online (a technology in education course) I am always exposed to all kinds of media. So escaping from it all for a weekend felt liberating.
I have to admit though, I also realized that I would never be able to reject technology and decide to never use it. Yes, you may laugh but there are people who deliberately isolate themselves from the technology world by deciding to not use computers or cell phones. Well I’m not one of them. I can never be one of them. At least not by choice. While I knew that before, I was even more convinced this weekend. My parents live in Europe and I am the only child. For us communicating over Skype is essential. Speaking to each other almost every other day, sharing photos, videos, webcams instantly is an amazing experience. How else am I going to do this and let them see my life as it happens if I don’t use technology? There is no other way.
So here’s what happened at the camping trip. We lit the fire, started breakfast, and made the coffee. Before you know it, my parents were calling us on Skype on our iPhone. The conversation was great – we were outdoors and camping and we could show them via the iPhone’s webcam everything that was happening on our campsite. They saw the fire, the tent, the fast river, our smiling faces and we saw them ready to go to bed at night after a tiring day and happy to see us. How cool is that!?!
So yes, technology diets are important but they shouldn’t mean losing connection with the world (and my world is my family). Balance is key. It may sound like a cliche but it’s true.