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Time to go get myself unplugged

By Staff | May 27, 2018

So, are you having a nice Memorial Day weekend?

You might be reading this column during, or after the big three-day holiday which is considered the unofficial start of summer, at least in Minnesota.

But, with an early deadline this week, this column is being written on Thursday, a couple days before any Memorial Day celebration.

I hope we all have a chance to spend some time this weekend, or on Monday, in particular, remembering those who have served our country, especially those have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Our family, as has been a tradition for more years than I can remember, will be headed off camping this weekend.

And once again, I am really looking forward to it.

Some people enjoy camping, some do not. And then there are those of us who can’t seem to get enough of it.

We fit into that later category.

I grew up camping with my family in both California and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. My wife grew up camping all over Minnesota.

We have camped throughout our 45 years of marriage. That includes tent camping in places like the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, pulling a travel trailer around the countryside, and keeping our camper trailer at a permanent site for the summer.

Our camper is on a secluded area on a secluded little lake with no one else around. We like it that way. The trade off from being in a ‘regular’ campground is that we do not have electricity, water or sewer hookups. And certainly no cable TV.

We like it that way, too. Sure, it takes some extra work to be your own utility department and supply power (solar panels), water (250 gallon tank) and gas (LP tanks), but it is worth it in the long run.

There are a lot of things I like about camping, but perhaps the best thing is getting unplugged. Electronic devices of all kinds are put away when I go camping. No cell phone, iPad, iPod, TV, or computer.

I know what you are thinking; you have read about this in the past. And it is true that this has been a topic in this space at times in the past. But it is still relevant today.

Maybe even more so.

I work at a job which requires hours of computer time. In fact, the computer goes on the second I arrive, and doesn’t get turned off until nine hours later.

Add in using the smart phone, maybe the iPad or computer at home, perhaps a little TV before bed, and well, you get the idea.

Too much screen time.

And I am not alone. Since the last time I wrote about this addiction we have to our screens, I believe it has gotten worse. Much, much worse.

Everyone seems to be checking their phones constantly, both email and messages and Facebook, even when having a conversation with someone else in person. Or out to dinner with them. Or at work.

And as bad as we adults are, the youth of today may be even more addicted. Between Social Media and game playing, it is hard for them to put down the phone. Or the pad. Or turn off the TV and the computer.

My challenge still is to see if people can put down the phone for a week. Or even a day. Many say they can, but I am not so sure. It is really hard to do.

I know, this is just one old guy ranting about the modern world and remembering the good old days before cell phones and computers were even invented.

I can’t deny that.

But one of the best things about camping is the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and the people you are with. Without the distractions of electronic devices.

I call it getting unplugged. It means enjoying a break from the real world, I guess, and get back to the basics.

One of the best things about the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is that you don’t need to bother taking your phone in with you. There is no cell service there.

That said, I also have to make full disclosure that I?will have my phone along on this camping weekend, but I plan to try and ignore it most of the time. Maybe I have to check it just in case there is an emergency somewhere.

But it will be three days of no watching the TV news, checking the computer or phone for any updates, no Facebook, no checking my email until next Tuesday. There might be a few hundred by then in my Register email inbox, but they will just have to wait.

I am going camping and getting unplugged.