What happens when you disconnect?

Photo by jenny downing

Did you miss me? Those of you who know me well know that I am generally very accessible. You could say that I am plugged in. And you can reach me so many different ways. I like it that way. I’m not one of those who would be happy to leave my cell phone and laptop and go away for two weeks on vacation. Two days is a long time for me.

If you read my post two weeks ago about my new phone, you know that even though I work from home and rarely am out of the office much less the city, I opted into a new Smart Phone so I can take even more of my toys with me wherever I go.

Tuesday night I was invited by a business group, Competitive Edge, in Green Bay to speak with them about using social media. One of the members was the President of the Bay Area Association of Legal Professionals that I spoke to in September.

Total Disconnection

Due to many factors, the cold, the lateness of the meeting, and the Packers, we opted to stay over night and visit my husband’s aunt and uncle. It was my first time seeing their relatively new house that uncle Jerry had designed. As a chemical engineer, he studies everything he does and even the house was built with extra energy saving strategies, including very thick walls.

I have no idea if it was the walls or the location, but I could barely get a cell signal and there was no wifi to hook my laptop into. I could have used his computer but all my “stuff” has the passwords and everything on the laptop so I just opted to disconnect.

We ended up visiting and just relaxing the whole time we were there. This mean no blog posts written, no blog reading or commenting, no tweets, no Facebook updates, and very little cell interaction from me. Totally weird for me, especially since the whole reason I was in Green Bay was social media. I did let my e-mail download at the meeting so at least I knew what was going on but I didn’t reply to anyone there.

Even when we were driving, we had the GPS working on the phone so I didn’t interrupt it to read e-mail or check in on things. We didn’t get lost but I definitely was unplugged.

Since I spent so much time teaching people how to connect on online media, it was a weird feeling to be disconnected and pretty much unplugged. Perhaps the best thing is to reach a balance point. This is hard for me. I like the connections and the people I connect with but I will work on it more.

As I said, this isn’t normal for me. I am very plugged in almost all the time. I can say I did enjoy the break even if I tried hard at first to “get my fix” of electronic connections.


  1. Andrew Plath on February 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    Our generation is probably the most connected in all time. Our parents were just content with the land-line telephone, though some people in that generation did gravitate towards e-mail mostly as an efficient way to connect with sons and daughters in foreign countries.

    10 years ago, an editor at the now defunct National Geographic Adventure magazine convinced me of the need for e-mail as she had gotten tired of trying to reach me by phone. That caused me to buy my first PC just to get an e-mail account going. Now it is e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.

    • Julie Walraven on February 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      Yes, and now you are Everywhere! 🙂 You have gotten very computer savvy in the process too. People who are willing to get out there and connect will find joy in the journey, I know I have.

  2. gee backhouse on February 11, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Being disconnected, these days, feels weird. My personal balance when ‘working’ is to spend the lion’s share of my time creating jewellery in the workshop and the rest of the time at my laptop and elsewhere. I need to be careful not to put my laptop at risk in the workshop, too, so sometimes feel a little disconnected at those times if there’s a lot happening on-line for me. But yesterday was different. We had a scheduled outage of electricity for several hours in the village. So, we were truly disconnected!

    • Julie Walraven on February 11, 2011 at 7:49 am

      You can relate then. I have been blessed that it doesn’t happen very often. Sometimes I find myself fighting the feeling I am too reliant on being connected but I think that balance point is really what we all need.

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