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Old 08-11-2012, 09:56 AM   #1
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Getting off the Digital Grid

After 10 years of owning a Jayco Pop-Up camper, my family has been enjoying our new travel trailer (2011 Jayco Jayflight 26BH) this summer. This year we've traveled to the Black Hills and the Grand Teton National Park as well as several local parks. As I work in a field of computers and information technology, I've always insisted with my family that we "unplug" from the Internet while camping. We have no TV in the trailer, no video games, and no cell phones. We'll only use our computer or smartphones in emergencies. At the end of those trips I know my blood pressure is lower and I can handle the stress of my job where I'm immersed with non-stop tech stress.

In the past several years on my blog I've promoted a "Technology Break" and invited other fellow tech geeks to join. This year, I played a little bit of a joke on my readers and announced the "Jayco CMS". My blog focuses on "content management systems" which is the generic name for software used to run websites. It took my usual readers that I played with the words and was talking about my new "camping management system". If you're into IT or business, I hope you can catch some of my humor in that article.

My point is it always amazes me how few people actually take the opportunity to unplug their digital devices during their summer vacation. I can't tell you how many of my fellow IT professionals thinks it strange that a computer geek also owns a F-150 and camping trailer. When my family and I were in the Grand Teton we were dry docked at Signal Mountain right next to Jackson Lake. Occasionally, we would bump into people (especially in Yellowstone) staying in the lodges paying $200-$400 a night for their room with all the conveniences and amenities you would expect. I can't help but think they missed the whole point of visiting that national park. While their kids would go back to watching TV when they got back into that room, my son and I went back to camp and would proceed to dip ourselves into an ice cold glacier lake. I can't help but think I gave my son a more memorable trip by taking away his Nintendo DS!

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Old 08-11-2012, 10:03 AM   #2
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Sounds like a good policy to me!


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Old 08-11-2012, 11:00 AM   #3
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Great policy. We have a no electronics policy with our scout troop and it works great. My most relaxing times are camping without being connected.
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Old 08-11-2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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I am actively promoting 'digital' timeouts to all I meet.
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Old 08-11-2012, 03:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Boss Wagon View Post
Great policy. We have a no electronics policy with our scout troop and it works great. My most relaxing times are camping without being connected.
In one of the cub scout camps where parents attend with their sons, one of the mother's let her son have a portable DVD player around the campfire. I was pretty upset, but didn't say anything. She claimed her son needed to watch it because he had ADD. One of the other father's seeing my reaction leaned over to me and whispered, "...and now we know why he had ADD". Some parents don't think. Luckily, this year we had no electronic "incidents" and better yet...with nobody having matches or lighters on hand the kids had to start a fire with the spark of a magnesium stick.
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:07 PM   #6
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works for me. I only use the smartphone for a clock.
I never bring the laptop unless I have to work, which is very seldom.
We have a TV but never use it.
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:46 PM   #7
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Easy to stay off the grid while camping, try doing it for one week each month while you are home, test your will power....happy camping!
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:06 AM   #8
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I would love to have a link to your article.

I am right there with you. At almost 40 years old, I was forced to go back to school because of the government changing the requirements for healthcare jobs in my field. So, for a change, I am back in school getting a degree in Network Administration. I got my first home computer back in around 84 in a Tandy Color Computer. I have always been plugged in before most people ever thought about what you can do today with a computer. My kids are the same way, except today, you don't have to go to the library to check out a book on Basic, just to spend an entire weekend to type in the code for have a game, and then work out why it does not work on your version of basic, fun times.

When we go, all of the places we go to do not even have cell service at the site. I have to drive a couple of miles to get a signal to call home to check on my elderly dad. Otherwise, smart phones are relegated to camera duty only. I don't raise the antenna on the tv, and carry about 15 different board games, and card games. I do keep a dvd or two for when we have several days of in-climate weather and the kids are stuck in the camper for hours on end.

I do notice when we go, it takes about two days to get the xbox's and other gadgets out of the kids system before they really get into the trip.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:55 PM   #9
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That is neat! I'm glad to hear others are doing this. For the 15 years I have been taking my family camping, my rule has always been...( you can play with those in the truck but the minute we stop at the campground you must leave it all in the truck.) Just get out and enjoy each other's company & nature.
But most of all relax without electricity.

Nice job everyone!
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:37 PM   #10
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We also do not take any computers with us on camping trips, and have cell phones only for emergency contact with our daughter and son-in-law at home. They have instructions not to call unless a real emergency. TV stays off, and CD player only for some occasional Glenn Miller or Tommy Dorsey music. We spend our time with card and board games, and bring lots of books (and I mean the printed type, NOT the electronic kind). To us, there is no point in going camping if you do the same things you normally do at home. JMHO.

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