Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

You Have Options

A while back, journalist Dan Gillmor wrote a series of posts on Twitter about GoGo (an in-flight internet service). Gillmor’s conclusion? GoGo’s rates are beyond ridiculous.

After reading Gillmor’s posts, I took a look at GoGo’s rates and … well, he’s right. They are beyond ridiculous. They reminded me of the rates that hotels charge for internet access. Only worse. Much worse.

Of course, there’s a very simple alternative: don’t use these services.

Admittedly, I don’t travel much. And definitely not as much as I’d like to. But I did move to New Zealand last year, and that’s a long flight from just about anywhere. During my time in transit (and shortly after) I didn’t respond to any emails, instant messages, or private messages on social media sites.

Guess what? My world didn’t end. My life didn’t come crashing down around my ears. I wasn’t any less informed than when I started my journey. I didn’t become a pariah. In fact, it was nice to clear all of the static out of my life for that period of time.

Most, if not all of us, can survive being offline for a few hours. Or more. Being out of touch won’t kill us, turn us into social outcasts, or make us Luddites.

Unfortunately, the always connected mindset has infected our culture like a virus. Far too many people feel that they need to be connected at all times, even during a plane flight. But what are you really missing that can’t be dealt with later?

You don’t need to be continuously available. In fact, taking a break from the digital world is a good thing. It definitely won’t hurt you. It might give you some perspective.

And remember that the world functioned and thrived without email, internet access, and mobile/smartphones for centuries. Progress was made in that time. Deals were done. Money changed hands. The world kept on turning.

You can survive without those trappings too, if only for a little while. All you need to do is ignore that little voice in your head and give turning off a real try.

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