Not sure if you read my post about Summer Fridays, but this weekend I decided to observe, and unplug for two whole days. It’s funny, but I can’t even remember the last time I had done that, and in fact, it was probably a first. My family and I were out in the Hamptons for the week, and it was one of the most relaxing weeks I’ve had in a long time. Of course, I juggled some deadlines earlier in the week, so come Friday 8pm, I shut down my computer and phone for a “wire less” weekend.
It was strange at first to not have my phone, to check and post to social media. I found myself grabbing the phone often, but only to take photos of the kids. My mom and I talk or text almost every day, so she knew if something important came up, she could reach Jason, who wasn’t unplugged, and naturally working over the weekend.
Day 1: We’ve been looking at houses the entire time out east, so our Saturday morning was jammed with appointments. It was a cloudy day, so it was no bother being stuck in the car all day. Jason and I were wrapped up in discussion, about pros and cons, and details of each house. When we returned home, the kids wanted to jump in the pool, even though it was a bit chilly. We barbecued for dinner, hanging out in the backyard, capped with popcorn and a movie night. I allowed for myself to watch a movie, not considering that as part of my unplugging. It actually relaxed me a little more.
Day: 2 By Sunday, I thought I would be dying to get back on the internet, but surprisingly it was quite contrary. It was liberating. (Too bad it couldn’t continue for a few more days!) We decided to head back into the city early, to spend time at my parents house before our big week. With tons of unpacking, laundry and grocery shopping on my brain, we left my parents’ at a decent hour to go home. Normally during our drives, I check emails, and look at social media, but on this trip, we talked and played music the entire time. Ryder, Siella, and Gemma shared their favorite parts from the trip. It was really quite nice.
By the time we reached the apartment, the kids were exhausted, so they went straight to bed. I started to unpack a little, but by 9pm I started to get a little anxious about the workload for the upcoming week. I took a breath, and decided to not pick up my devices. Instead grabbed a book before turning in, which something I never make time for.
I have to thank Intel Security for this nudge to unplug, and after reading this survey, I didn’t want to become the more than half of travelers that were afraid to disconnect. They asked about 14,000 people worldwide, from the ages of twenty-one to fifty-four, about how they go about unplugging from their devices. The results: 55 percent of people who wanted to disconnect from digital devices while traveling reported being unsuccessful; while 65 percent of those who did disconnect said it helped them enjoy their vacation. It was also no surprise that Americans tend to “not take” their allotted vacation days, yet even when they do they are still dealing with work virtually. In fact, 57% said they were not willing to leave their smartphones at home while traveling, and I am definitely one of those people.
If you are like me, and you take your phones on vacay, it is important to remain alert and prepared, as pickpockets and thieves can target travelers, and take advantage of crowds and distractions. Jason’s phone was actually lost, or shall I say stolen while traveling a few years back, so I know first hand that this type of thing exists, especially when traveling outside the country. Intel Security has come up with great tips for online safety while traveling, some of which I know I will implement for our frequent getaways:
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – Data costs can be expensive, but switching on bluetooth or wifi when out and about can be a recipe for disaster. Connecting to unprotected internet can expose your personal information to a cyber criminal, especially if you are exchanging payment information. Make sure to remove previously remembered wireless networks.
- Check and monitor your accounts – Keep an eye out for suspicious active in your bank account history. This is the only way to react quickly to potential fraud, and know if you’ve been hacked.
- Social Walls – especially if you are at the airport, posting your location is prime time for when criminals take your social information to monitor when you’re away and at your weakest point to defend against an attack. This is something I have been completely guilty of doing!
Being immersed in the social media world especially for my job, the thought of unplugging was the most difficult of the entire process. In the future, I will be at ease with my “wire less vacations”, and take certain precautions from Intel Security when on the road.
With all that happened in the world this week, and everything going on in our lives, it was nice to walk away, clear my head, think and reflect on myself, my family, my husband, and our future. In fact, I think I need to implement unplugging more in my life, set a few limits, and really make that downtime mandatory. I feel so refreshed this Monday morning, and ready for the week ahead.