Can you imagine life without your smart phone? How about without email or even just a cell phone? Worse yet, can you imagine going five whole days without checking your WordPress blog stats?!! Neither could I until I went to the Bahamas on my business/vacation trip.
If you read my previous blog, you know that I went to Nassau in the Bahamas for a business trip with my company. We were warned that cell service was going to be expensive and spotty at best, but when I whipped out my phone after we landed on Nassau to text that I had arrived safely, I could not get my phone to work. Neither could anyone else that I was with. So, we figured that we would just wait until we arrived at the hotel to use their wireless. Once there, though, the phones were still a no go! After a while of playing around with our phones, the realization set in that we would be cell phone free for the next five days! Now what?
It was time to go old school! Back to the late 80s when George Michael held the #1 spot on America’s Top 40 (can you guess which song?), ALF was actually in the top 10 most popular TV shows (okay, so I did watch it “Haaa…I kill me!”), and Al Gore had not yet invented the World Wide Web (invented in 1989 in case you were wondering). How do I know all of this? I googled it, something which would now no longer be happening during my trip to the Bahamas! So, my first step was to figure out how to call home. Hmmm…no cell phone, texting, or email. Then I remembered the calling card! Remember those? I managed to snag the last two and my roommate and I called home, speaking quickly while the minutes on the card counted down (“you have 30 seconds left…”).
The rest of the day I went through withdraw from my phone. I would constantly reach into my pocket to grab my phone so I could check emails or text someone, only to realize it was not there! I think my hand trembled a bit as it went without its smart phone extension. It was an annoyance that became a serious issue the first time we wanted to go somewhere. Nowadays plans do not need to be completely in place because you just text or call each other if something changes or with the final details. We realized, the first time we all decided to head down to the beach, that we actually had to commit to a plan before we split up! It made me realize how rarely we do that anymore because we do not have to. So, the first day we picked a permanent spot where we would be whenever we hit the beach.
Dinner plans again brought up the next issue. First of all, plans could not be made while sitting on the beach, cold drink in hand. We actually had to get up and use the phone in our rooms or concierge to make reservations, cutting short prime tanning hours! Then we had to, again, set a firm time and meeting place. We also had to rely on the hotel for recommendations since we did not have access to online reviews (okay, I did do research before I left and had printed that out! I’ll talk more about that in my next blog). Dinner’s actually allowed for great conversations since no one was “checking in” at the location and, instead, actually talked with each other. Although, when a question about some topic came up we were not able to automatically solve it since we could not goggle the answer!
One day we had to break into groups and come up with a song to sing in front of everyone. If you have ever held a job in corporate America I’m sure you know what I am talking about. Group humility creates a more cohesive team or something like that! Anyway, we actually had to sing the songs a Cappella because, while some of us had downloaded songs on iPhones, etc., there was no way to play them through the speakers unless you attempted to hold the mic up to the phone! No auto-tune either so the results were quite painful!
The most difficult aspect of no longer living in the digital age was when we needed to get in touch with someone who was not around. We had to resort to writing notes. These notes were written on a piece of paper using a pen! Who does that anymore? It was hard to even find paper! But my high school year’s memories quickly returned and I became an expert at leaving notes about where we were going and what we were doing. These notes were left in rooms or even slid under doors in hopes that the recipient would find it. The most important lesson I learned with notes, once you write it down you cannot change your mind! Old school all the way!
So I survived my travel back in time to 1988. As the plane touched down in Newark, NJ I felt very proud of the fact that I had disconnected myself from the world for five whole days! Immediately after that thought I may have pulled out my phone to see what I had missed…