This past Monday, I turned off my cell phone and left my computers behind. I went camping and de-screened for three full days.
* full disclosure – I did glance at the camera LCD preview screens to roughly check exposure, but I didn’t shoot very many photos (and only snapshots at that) and I didn’t edit at all on the back of the camera. So my screen time was limited to less than a minute in three days.
It was wonderful to de-screen. Here’s why.
I read books like crazy. Like completely devoured two entire books and finished two books I had been dragging my feet on. Plus I read three magazines! I never get that kind of reading done when there are screens tempting me every where with their ringtones and text tones and cool youtube videos.
So let’s start with the reading.
Finished up “$100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau. He’s a Portland author and his book is awesome. Best, down to earth business book I’ve ever read. It’s all based on the simple business principle of “have something to sell, have buyers, and have a way to get paid”. Highly recommended.
Second book was Dan Kennedy’s “No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs”. I’m a big Dan Kennedy fan (though not of his politics) so I enjoyed this book too. Kennedy uses a fax to communicate with clients! A fax! No cell, no email, and limited regular phone. It’s worth reading this book just to see how he pulls it off. Kennedy has a whole bunch of books and is a frequent inspirational business speaker so he is quite successful with this method.
I’ve been wanting to read Ramit Sethi’s “I Will Teach You To Be Rich” for a couple of months now and was not disappointed. Ramit is a good writer – writes from his heart. And his, “What would an Indian do?” questions in certain situations are hilarious. His dad once negotiated five days (5 days!) to buy a car only to walk out when free floor mats weren’t thrown in. Anyway, I’m not in Ramit’s target demographic (20′s and young 30′s) but I still learned tons and really, really enjoyed this book. Another highly recommended read.
50 Shades of Grey. Just kidding. Though I do kind of wish I had brought it. Sounds like a fun read.
I (finally) finished a Vogue book I started years ago. The chapters on photographers Mario Testino and Arthur Elgort especially stood out for me. Who wouldn’t want to be Mario? He has houses in LA, New York, and London. Word is he jet-sets nearly non-stop. Other side of the coin is Arthur Elgort who has a fantastic style that is much more down to earth.
Magazines – Sunset that my mom got me for xmas. There is a cool cattle drive I’d like to go on someday. $700 to work for the weekend (and that’s you paying the ranch, not the other way around) and it still sounded pretty cool. Vogue – still prefer British Vogue but American Vogue is a whole lot cheaper (like well over $100 a subscription cheaper). PDN which I’ve let expire. For one, drives me crazy when a magazine tells you to go to a web link for more info or a behind the scenes look at something and PDN does that a lot. With no internet screen, I felt cheated by those links I couldn’t look up.
Okay, on to the fun stuff. With no screens, I went canoeing a couple of times a day too. The dog LOVES it when I jump out of the canoe into the lake. He jumps right in beside me.
Okay, the dog pretty much loved this trip. I think he enjoyed the attention he got from me instead of the screens! Seriously, I walked more, swam more, canoed more, and was simply more active with no screens.
Above is my camping kitchen set-up. I can bake pizza or anything else on that coleman stove (that’s a camping pizza ready for baking in the square pan on the picnic table). And years ago I built that wood chuck box by hand and it’s been awesome. It holds a cookkit and staples and folds open into the coolest cutting board and camping cooking surface ever.
I heard a guy say camping is like practicing to be homeless but I disagree. Camping is relaxed and a great (and cheap) way to unwind. Turn the phone off or find a place with no cell service for maximum impact.
I’m telling you – de-screen for a few days and you’ll remember that whole other world out there! It may not be as exciting or sexy as the on-line world, in fact it’s pretty dusty and noisy and wet and hot and cold.
As I was driving back home, I turned my phone back on — three days after turning it off. I survived, there were a lot of messages, those text alert tones had accumulated and were annoying again, I have a lot of catching up to do, but damn did I enjoy my screen-free time!
de-screen sometimes – it’s awesome