How a Trip to Yellowstone Helped Me Disconnect from Tech

August 4, 2016

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Lead Copywriter

It shouldn’t take a trip into nature to remind me to put down the phone and computer.

Like many of you, my livelihood depends on the Internet.

I’m a copywriter, blogger and social media manager, so I spend anywhere from 8 to 12 hours a day on and off the computer.

I’m thankful that the Internet has enabled me to have a career, but I worry about the amount of time I spend on the Internet and staring at the computer.

Is my eyesight being damaged? (Maybe.

Am I sitting too much and will I die from sitting too much? (Possibly.)

Is my attention span getting shorter because I’m constantly darting from website to website, story to story? (Yes.

What is the never-ending stream of click-bait drivel and fear-mongering news doing to my psyche? (Many, many things.)

Some days I just want to pour gasoline on my computer, light a match and burn the mutha into a crisp. But I can’t. I’m tied to it, and I probably will be for a very long time.

That’s why I try to remind myself to disconnect when I can. No cellphones at the dinner table; no computers late into the evening (unless I have deadline). Even reading that sentence makes my eyes roll. How did we get to this point, when we have to constantly remind ourselves to put the phone down and computer away?

I asked myself that often as I traveled through South Dakota and Wyoming last week on a family trip through some of our country’s most beautiful national parks. Even if I wanted to get on the Internet, I couldn’t. Yellowstone is not exactly known for their stellar cell coverage. For several days I could not worry about my phone or the Internet. I was completely out of the loop on everything AND I LOVED IT. And the few times I was able to get service, I felt crappy submerging myself into the world of social media posturing and gossipy headlines.

I got to see the sun set over the Badlands, I walked around the circumference of Devil’s Tower and I walked through the endless, wondrous geysers of Yellowstone. Instead of Internet-based FOMO, I was more concerned with when Old Faithful would erupt. Technology be damned! I felt like a pioneer woman, entertained by the bountiful beauty of nature. I was ready to throw everything away and become a park ranger.

But venturing through our national parks indefinitely is obviously not a sustainable choice (thank you, employers, for letting me go), and though I hate to admit it, I’d probably get bored after a few months. Life really is about balance: a little bit of work here, a little bit of nature there. It shouldn’t have to be all or nothing, and it shouldn’t take the occasional family trip to remind me to disconnect.

I’d like to think that over the next few weeks, whenever I’m spending too much time on the computer, I will think of my national park adventures, put away the computer and step outside, marveling at the wonder of nature. And if I lose focus, maybe I’ll just have to plan another trip to Yellowstone.