Unplug on Vacation (Or at Home) with 5 Easy Tips

My Travels

It’s summer and I just spent a week camping before the Canada Day weekend (July 1st). It was a great feeling to unplug on vacation: the weather helped, as well as just leaving my phone on airplane mode so that I could infrequently take pictures with it. We camped with friends and then I got a few bonus days with family, so managed to enjoy all sorts of walks, books, conversations and birding commentary (of which none of us are experts!).  While packing for my trip, I heard this quote:

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” — Anne Lamott

Unplugging is important- especially when you know you’re returning to work right away after the trip, and that you want to feel refreshed. While camping, I realized that unplugging is kind of like watching a dog just after they’re done swimming. Dogs swimming: they’re in it. They’re doggy paddling, engaged and some dogs are loving it, some are just trying to keep their head above water. It’s kind of like pre-vacation. But the absolute best part is when the dog gets out of the water and SHAKES IT OFF. All of it! Droplets everywhere, spraying everyone in range!

When I think of unplugging, I’m a dog shaking it ALL off. Getting all that internet off me, updates, emails, screens fly away. It’s a reset, a moment for inspiration and a new perspective. An opportunity to go sniffing for new ideas. 

5 Ways to Doggedly Unplug on Vacation (or anywhere)!

So keeping with this metaphor, I’ve come up with 5 ways for you to doggedly pursue your path to unplug on vacation. 

  1. Put a collar on it! Credit to Courtney Carver’s Be More With Less on this one: she suggests wrapping an elastic band around your device. Sounds weird, right? But what it does is it acts as a very intentional ID tag: if the band is irritating you as you try to scroll on your phone, you’re going to identify that you’re being mindless. So, PUT a collar on it. 
  2. Close the blinds: This one is all about removing distraction, just like when a dog is barking at a passerby, its’ owner probably closes the blinds. The same applies here: close the blinds on your social media apps and games by moving them to the third screen of your phone. Even better, on that third screen, put them in a folder labelled, “Don’t do it!” 
  3. Chase your tail: When we were kids complaining about being bored, my mom would say to us: go chase yourself! By putting your phone on airplane mode, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to get bored. Boredom can lead to napping, starting conversations, making up a dumb game, and  thinking rather than cluttering our brains with distraction. 
  4. FInd a handler: Tell someone you’re close with that you have a goal and need to be held accountable. Be specific: is there a designated window of time that you’re not using your phone? Are you trying to keep the elastic band on your phone at all times? Get your handler to call you out on it if they notice you’re falling off the wagon. Ironically enough, the command “Sit” could work for both dogs and humans needing a bit of contemplation.  
  5. Last but not least, Go off leash! This is an advanced training, not just the basic obedience stuff. But I know you’ve got it, especially if you’re trying out any of the other 4 ideas. Leave the phone at your accommodations. At first, just for an hour. Work towards a whole day of being off leash! 

Start experimenting with these tips and tricks at home so that it’s all the more natural once you’re away. Oh, and one more thing: don’t forget to celebrate with some treats here and there!

[Sorry… I couldn’t resist!]