A few weeks ago, I unplugged. I set up an email responder, alerted my assorted colleagues and friends, and turned off my text alerts for various networks.


My husband and I packed an enormous amount of stuff, including the kids, left the powerless-after-a-big-storm house in the care of my in-laws, and drove a crazy distance to enjoy wild ponies and the beach.

It was the first time we've done this sort of thing.

It was also therapeutic to be offline. Not because I didn't sneak in to see what the phone number for the local pizza place was after a long day at the beach. Not because I didn't pop over to verify open/close times for an attraction we didn't want to miss.

There was a freedom in not being tethered to the virtual world. No updates. No email. No feeling of something left unread.

I love the virtual conversation. I thrive on it, and I like to think I partake in some moderation. I feel supported and encouraged by my online community, and I value that a great deal.

But, as with anything, a break can be refreshing--even if it does involve more sand than I ever thought possible, cranky car-worn kids, and junk food to the extreme.

My inbox didn't implode from the weight of the incoming email. My feed reader didn't reach out and smack me when I marked all as read. The Twitterstream was still sailing along smoothly and I was able to jump right back in.

I came back to my online life ready to take things on. I was rested, and that's a feeling I could probably use more of.

Have you gone offline this summer? What was the best (or worst) part of it?

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Copyright 2012 Sarah Reinhard