How I Learned to Quit My Phone and Love My Vacation

Sunday afternoon I returned from five days at Paradox Lake, a beautiful haven within the 6-million-acre Adirondack State Park in New York. It was time well-spent building camp fires, kayaking, hiking, grilling, fishing and laughing with friends. And thanks to my mobile carrier’s coverage (or lack thereof in almost any area NOT a major metro), my iPhone 6S became little more than a camera.

Camp fire
I made that. With my own hands.

After my hike, I came back, cooked salmon by making an educated guess how to prepare it (no Epicurious app), and then started a camp fire after about 15 minutes of trial and error (Protip: pine needles don’t make the best kindling, but a random paper bag will).

Now, Rachel and Dave have a different mobile carrier, so they did occasionally have service at the cabin after they arrived. At first I was a little envious — they could post photos in real time! And check the news! And google if Northern Pike is edible (it is).

But then I witnessed clients calling Dave about projects, and random news notifications going off on Rachel’s phone, while mine stayed silent, except when we listened to a Lord Huron album down on the beach while drinking beer and watching Dave fish (my camera had turned into an MP3 player).

According to Leslie Perlow, PhD, the Konosuke Matsushita professor of leadership at the Harvard Business School, 51 percent of people check their smartphones continuously during vacation.

Cabin FeverIt’s this new, weird reality we live in, but I adjusted pretty quickly to not using my phone, and instead being in the moment. And while it was sometimes inconvenient in regard to getting directions or looking up details about hiking trails, I managed.

Post vacation, my smartphone has come in handy as Rachel and I text each other back and forth, sharing photos and commiserating how returning to the real world is for the birds (a loon to be exact). And maybe I will learn how to put the phone down, even when I do have service.

Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

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