Tuesday, September 3, 2013


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The Internet has given us the possibility of keeping in touch with those around the world, allowed us to gather more information faster, and changed the way we do business. People can now share their life, knowledge, gifts, creativity, and opinions to a worldwide audience. There is no doubt that the Internet is a blessing in many ways.

At home, there were days when I would sit on the couch watching Netflix on Apple TV, surfing the internet on my MacBook, and texting friends on my iPhone all at the same. (If that’s not an Apple commercial then I don’t know what is.) But I had a need to be connected to everything all at once, all the time. I needed to know I had the possibility of checking my friend’s Instagram, googling a question or checking the weather in the palm of my hand.

On the third day in Manila, I already yearned for that ability. I was standing in the mall with Andrew and Margaret. Looking back, I don’t even remember what we were talking about but I thought ‘Oh I can just Google that.’ And then I realized I couldn’t. My iPhone was right there in my purse but without Wi-Fi or an international data plan it became simply a camera, a note taker and a gaming device. No longer was I continually plugged in.

While I have Wi-Fi at the office, I am using it to do work or quickly reply to emails. And at home, I am able to use USB stick paid by the hour but neither are the same speed and connectivity. By being limited in my use of Internet, I’ve evaluated my reasons and priorities for getting on. My main purpose is communication: sending emails or iMessages, skyping, and updating my blog and Facebook. Other than that, I don’t feel the need to sit and watch YouTube videos or troll through random sites.

I’ve found that having less connectivity to the Internet gives me more connection to myself and those around me. It forces me to look up from the screen and talk to my neighbors, observe the culture, learn the language. I have time to reflect about my experiences, who I am, and my hopes and dreams in life. Or I simply relax and dive into a good book.

There were many times when I was sitting across the table from a friend who was on their phone and I couldn’t have felt farther away or more disconnected from them. Everyone has had this happen to them. It’s become a part of our culture.

I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to unplug, disconnect from technology and truly, deeply connect to form new relationships.

You’ll be surprised at how rewarding and satisfying it is. I promise you won’t be missing out. If anything you will gain from it.

Take the challenge. Unplug.

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