Henry and I took another summer road trip this year. This journey included a weeklong jaunt across the country, followed by a month in New England and New York. We visited family and friends. We attended a graduation and Henry performed a baptism. We explored more hidden (for us) corners of America.
The intent was for this to be a “working vacation” for me. Not that I would work every day, but that I would be available to clients and there would be days when I would spend some time working. After all, there are lots of folks out there in the internet world touting the freelance life with photos of laptops on sandy beaches alongside phrases like, “Work from anywhere!”
Turns out it’s not that simple. It’s more like “work from anywhere that you can get a phone signal and/or strong, consistent wifi.” There was one place we stayed where, no matter how many permutations of my friend’s password we tried, we could not get on her wifi system—and our mobile phone company’s signal didn’t reach that small town either. There was also a motel with a beautiful setting—as you can see here!—that had a very inconsistent wifi signal. It was very frustrating at times, to say the least….
And yet…I found myself thinking about it as God’s way of saying, “You really do need some downtime.” One of the disadvantages of owning your own small business is that there’s always more to do. Even if you’re not working “in” the business, you should be working “on” the business. It’s tough to justify taking a break—and that’s not the kind of balance that I preach to people who meet with me for spiritual guidance. I need to practice what I preach, and these wifi difficulties gave me a chance to step back, slow down, and enjoy the scenery.
I also spent time taking photos and enjoyed a few evenings of “playing with” those photos—many of which will be featured on my Instagram feed in the weeks ahead. Using my camera as a spiritual focusing tool is another gift of travel. It helps me broaden my own perspective and see the gifts in new perspectives and present moments.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing some ponderings that came to me—and to Henry—over the course of our five-week trip. I hope that you will find them worth pondering as well. For today, I invite you to consider how you would respond to having no cell or internet service for two days straight. How would your life be different? How would you handle the changes?
Like you, Shirin, I rely on the internet for my work. Several years ago my husband Kelly and I spent half a year in our old motorhome, which he had fitted out with two desks that didn’t have to be disturbed when we ate! We spent much of that winter in New Mexico state parks. Usually the internet was okay or really good, but several times it was inadequate or non-existent.
I felt restless without it, but then I would settle into a really good writing spell.
Ah, that sounds like a lovely way to spend the winter…Henry and I dreamed of doing that one day but the motor home costs just feel prohibitive…. It certainly would be a different type of experience than the friends-and-family time we had…I’m glad that it led to good writing for you!
No phone or internet = in-home retreat! Time to catch up on reading, writing, praying!