Lifestyle

Seven Days Unplugged: Can You Take A Vacation From The Internet?

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I woke up December 26th in a cold sweat. It had only been 30 hours since my last fix, but already I was showing all the symptoms of withdrawal: chewing my nails, pacing, and terrible nightmares in which I went to my computer and found out I had been fired for not checking my email. I was in a strange country where I did not speak the language, and I couldn't even call (or text) for help.

This was the beginning of my week without electronic communication.

I roll my eyes when people talk about “unplugging” for vacation, because it assumes this level of ludite smugness that I find completely condescending to both my profession and everything I do in my life. I'm sorry, if the Internet is so awful and you just need to get away, chances are we didn't want you hear to begin with.

Of course, I'm using that vague term “Internet” when I really mean “world wide web.” The Internet is not just a bunch of sites that you use: it's also all your phone apps, Twitter, Foursquare…basically any way you plan on getting in touch with your friends. It might seem a slight distinction (even Winona Ryder can't tell the difference!) but it's important. After all, when I decided to leave my phone at home while I traveled to the Dominican Republic, I wasn't just leaving behind my Twitter account: I was also forfeiting the ability to call, email, or be in touch with anyone. I didn't mind the idea of not staring at a screen for 12 hours a day, but what if I lost my passport? We live in the 21st century, and I for one, am happy for the conveniences it affords me.

By the third day of sunny beaches however, I was no longer thinking of my phone (except for the weird nightmares, which persisted all week). Even though my hotel boasted WiFi, I clucked my head sadly at the German family that would sit out on the veranda and play Angry Birds all day long.

By the fifth day, my boyfriend and I were making giddy, punch-drunk promises that we would spend more time communicating with people, not “at” them. We wouldn't use Twitter for a whole other week! We'd stop checking our email on our phone! We would make more eye contact! Do Yoga! Reconnect with mother Earth! I had already forgotten my Twitter password!

Of course, out of necessity on the sixth day we did go to one Internet cafe to make sure there was no major crisis back home. That's where this whole “no Internet” business started to unravel faster than

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