We went on a cruise through the Western Caribbean. One of the side effects (or sometimes the point) of a cruise is an internet fast. It’s gotten much more affordable, actually, to buy a wireless internet package while on a cruise, but it’s still expensive and since I primarily use the internet for entertainment I didn't see the need to pay for it when there are always tons of free things going on around the ship.
When we went on a cruise two years ago the internet break was refreshing and made every fun, vacationy day seem longer since I didn’t lose huge chunks of time with my eyes glued to my phone. We had lazy afternoon siestas where Margaret napped and I read magazines. We went to bed at a reasonable time, since there wasn’t much to do after she was asleep for the night when glowing screens were unavailable to us.
Two parents on vacation with one child was totally doable and we had plenty of time to relax. This time we were two parents with two children who fed off each other’s crazy and somehow seemed to seem like six children we could not control in a tiny little room. I needed my coping mechanism – a little adult interaction with my friends – and it felt extreme to go without it completely. (I would have settled for a little adult interaction with my husband, but the kids weren't really allowing that.)
A couple months ago, I reached an internet saturation point and had to take a step back. I’ve drastically cut back the amount of time I spend on Twitter and I have ruthlessly unsubscribed to a lot blogs I wasn’t enjoying anymore. (Mostly large, impersonal blogs. I decided I was all Cake Wrecked out. After a while they all run together, amiright?)
This meant by the time we left on the cruise, I wasn’t really wasting that much time on the internet. Certainly it still took up a noticeable chunk of my day – a couple hours, in 10-15 minute increments here and there – but it seemed reasonable to me. Maybe it wasn’t, but it was working for right now. Cutting it out completely seemed unnecessary. I mean, A’Dell was having a baby and I wasn’t allowed to check in and see how things were going.
I brought plenty of magazines, but I didn’t really want to read them. It felt a little silly to say no, you can’t read a blog post about what’s going in your friends’ lives, you must read a magazine article about Kim Kardashian’s ongoing divorce. I do love a good US Weekly (or five), but I wasn’t feeling it this week. I missed you guys.
A “no internet outside of naptime or bedtime” rule I would have been fine with. That seems appropriate for a vacation. But does it really matter if I spend 15 minutes before bed reading a Kindle book I didn’t enjoy or a few blog posts?
I wouldn't say going without the internet for a week was hard, at least not in my current low-maintenance, no-Twitter internet routine. I survived just fine. I feel like I’m doing pretty well with the moderation right now, though, so I don’t expect to do a complete fast again anytime soon. I am glad I had trip two years ago where I felt like the break was really valuable, or I'd be a rather cranky internet-fasts-are-STUPID person right now. Sometimes they're just what you need. Sometimes they just make you realize how much your people mean to you.