Jumping off the grid


Perhaps as a social experiment, more likely as personal therapy, I have made a decision to drop off the grid for a week.  And while I have vague memories of saying I'd be off the grid a couple of times previous, I truly wasn't.  Inevitably I found a WiFi signal, paid for roaming service, or dropped into a neighbourhood Internet cafe to catch up on the news.

I have only been completely cut off from the online world for small chunks of time, when in the air, or sleeping.  These seven days are going to be completely new for me.  I'm not sure how I'm going to react.

I'm writing about this for two specific reasons:

1) I don't want people to worry

I post a lot of information, and do so very consistently.  An absence of me in your news feed might cause concern as to my well-being.  Be assured, I will be perfectly safe, either lying on a sunny beach, swimming in the Caribbean Sea, or exploring the all-you-can-eat buffet at the resort.

2)  If I write it down and share it with the world, I'll do it

Maybe the facility will have free WiFi service?  Will I be able to resist the temptation to log on if I don't put my intention out to the universe?  Probably not.

By the way, I am taking my phone.  It has an excellent camera and is super portable.  It can also be used in the case of an emergency. I'm still debating about whether or not to take our aging digital SLR.  During our last three excursions in Mexico, I've enjoyed walking around the neighbourhoods snapping pictures, using both the regular lens and the telephoto.

As a covenant between me and the universe, I solemnly swear that from the time we get on the plane to fly to Mexico to the moment we land back in Fort McMurray, I will:

- not post a single, solitary thing on Facebook

- not tweet

- not look at email

- not publish a blog post

- not go online for any reason, unless it is in the interests of my family's safety or security

As I'm typing this my brain is trying to process the ramifications of what I've suggested as marching orders for seven days starting late tonight.  There is quite an internal dialogue going on.

"Are you insane?" screams the plugged in, pugnacious side.

"Think of the pile of emails we'll have when we get back.  Think of all those funny posts and pictures we'll miss.  What if some crazy news thing happens and we completely miss it?  Good God, what'll happen to our Klout score?"

"This is the right thing to do", says the pragmatic and rational side.  "We need to do this.  It's a long time coming.  We need to prove to ourselves that we can actually pull this off."

Some of you reading this are probably thinking: Get over yourself!  Others who know me well are likely shaking their head saying:  "There is NO way he's going to be able to do it".  

As soon as I press PUBLISH on this post, there will be no looking back.

As I've covered what I'm NOT going to do, the next logical discussion is how I will fill my time during my period of online abstinence.  During these seven days I will:

- spend time returning to "the centre of my heart", as elder Elsie Yanick suggested in one of her prayers l heard earlier this year

- enjoy hanging out my sons and my wife

- write longhand in my journal (maybe there is a book looming within this experience: How I Went a Week Offline and Lived to Tell About It, or something similar)

- draw and paint

- learn my lyrics for Les Mis (we are supposed to be off book by the time we return)

- read

- wander around and take pictures (my absolute favourite thing to do when visiting exotic places)

- frolic in the water (though I'm going to refrain from diving, as that activity invariably plays havoc with the tube implanted in my right eardrum)

It'll be quite a week.  Today is about getting everything packed and ready for the journey, and getting the house in order for our return.

Wish me luck.

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