Technology has made some pretty undeniable improvements in our lives.
Cell phones mean we can always stay in touch with the people we love; WiFi hot spots ensure that’s true no matter where in the world we are; and global positioning systems make getting to those far-off destinations in the first place a whole lot easier. (Psst: here’s our post on some of the best RV-specific GPS systems on the market. The Garmin RV 760LMT with Wireless Backup Camera is particularly popular!)
But when you find you’re living 99% of your life behind a screen of some sort — as so many of us are — it can quickly become apparent that you might just need a break from technology, even if you’re far from a Luddite.
One of the main things that draw many of us to the camping lifestyle in the first place is the promise of getting back to nature, but with all the improvements that keep us constantly connected, it’s easy to miss your whole trip while you’re busy playing video games or streaming television shows from the cozy comfort of the inside of your rig. Even if you do venture outside, your smartphone means you can easily be distracted by social media and other applications, totally oblivious to your surroundings even in some of the most stunning landscapes in the world.
Wondering how you can break the cycle? Looking for a way to detox from technology by unplugging yourself for a day or four?
Here are some tips to help you put down your phone and get reconnected with a much greater source of energy.
Why You Should Take a Break from Technology
Before we talk about how to break away from technology, let’s get clear on why you should. Increasingly, many people may not even want to unplug themselves from technology or social media in the first place — after all, many of us were raised alongside it.
But there are good reasons to disconnect from technology, at least temporarily. For one thing, when you unplug from your devices, you’re much more able to hold a real, face-to-face conversation with the people you care about in real time. Simple conversation is becoming something of a lost art in our constantly-connected world!
If you feel like you haven’t spoken to the other members of your household — or, at least, haven’t spoken to them on a non-text-message basis — for weeks, a family weekend retreat might be just the ticket to get things back on track. It doesn’t have to be long, involved, or expensive. Just grab some basics and head out to your favorite nearby state park or campground, and don’t spring for a resort-style park with WiFi! Here are some more tips on making fun and efficient last-minute weekend getaways.
Another of the best reasons to unplug: gaining perspective and calm. If you find yourself constantly stressed out and wondering how to achieve mindfulness, consider the speed at which information is flowing at you through the channels of your computer and smartphone. Twenty years ago, a Twitter feed alone would have been considered an incredibly large amount of information. Now, we get all of that and much more every single time we pull our phone out of our pockets!
Reducing stress and being more centered in the moment is one of the best health benefits of unplugging from technology and electronics, or at least taking a short break from them. In fact, scientific studies have shown that going outside on a regular basis, even if only for a short time, can increase our physical wellbeing and health significantly!
How to Unplug Yourself
Even if you have the best intentions of unplugging for the weekend, in many cases, it’s impossible to leave behind technology entirely. After all, you may need that cell phone in case of emergency, or what if an extended family member calls needing some help?
That means your technology detox is going to take a little bit of willpower. When you’re tempted to pick up your phone and mindlessly scroll through Facebook or some other app, you’ve got to find a non-electronic way to divert your attention. But fortunately, there are many activities for mindfulness and concentration that work perfectly for camping trips.
For starters, the kind of camping you do can have a big impact on how challenging it is to take a break from technology. If you’re boondocking without electricity, for example, you won’t want to use your phone too often — because if you run down the battery, you won’t have a way to re-charge it! (That is, of course, as long as you don’t have a battery backup.)
Of course, there’s also all the wonderful activities of the great outdoors to consider. No matter where you’re camping, there’s something beautiful to see and do outside, whether it’s a hike in the woods, a swim or kayaking trip on a local river or lake, or even just a bike ride around the campground. Just make sure you leave your phone firmly in your pocket and actually take the time to enjoy the scenery. You traveled to see this, after all!
You can also enjoy quiet, tech-free activities indoors on inclement days or if you’re not quite feeling up to an outdoor adventure. Read a book — the kind with pages! — or fill out a crossword puzzle. Cook a delicious meal with your family and then enjoy it with some pleasant conversation. Make the table a tech-free zone!
Benefits of Technology Detox
By ditching technology for a little while, you’ll have more appreciation for exactly how magical it is when you come back to it, not to mention a clearer head and a smile on your face. Enjoying nature and communicating with one another are part of what makes living life enjoyable; in fact, you could even say they’re part of what makes us human.
So what are you waiting for? Close this window, shut the laptop, and get outside!
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