That’s a long time.
It’s not to say that I haven’t traveled and had some fun adventures along the way, but most times those trips have had more to do with the ever-changing direction my career’s taken in recent years. It hasn’t been easy to disconnect from work (when it’s been there) – especially when it can be done from anywhere.
This helped serve as a necessary reminder of how easy it can be to get lost in the bubble and get dragged into a routine that can make it hard to recharge – and how simple it can be to disconnect for the right reasons.
I’ve become a data person and looking at the numbers, I did a lot during this trip:
- Three major U.S. cities (Boston, New York, Chicago)
- Three major U.S. transit systems (The T, the Subway and the L)
- Two digital journalism conferences & presentations – ONA11 (video), Block by Block (video)
- Four MLB ballparks (Fenway Park, New Yankee Stadium, U.S. Cellular Field, Wrigley Field)
- Three MLB regular season home finale losses (Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox)
- One (successful) Guinness World Record attempt
- One outdoor screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“
- 2,342 miles traveled by airplane (via Southwest Airlines)
- 198 kg CO2 produced while traveling
- 215 miles traveled by BoltBus
- Length of High Line Park (NYC) = 1 mile (total distance walked – 2 miles)
- One boat ride (via Chicago Architectural Foundation)
- Two meals (Fast Company breakfast briefing & one lunch) in Bryant Park
- Watched one TV show during the trip (the Pan Am premiere – via DVR. I keep hoping someone can save that show…)
- Way too many lunches and incredible conversations over drinks or coffee with people offline than I’d had in a long time.
How badly did I need to get away? Duane (my AirBnB host in Boston) felt it necessary to remind me to have fun. When I landed at Logan, I was there for business – at least mentally. A few hours later sitting in Fenway, I remembered how much fun life can be when you let yourself escape.
I found myself enjoying a side effect of having a Palm Pre that doesn’t like to hold a charge – you can’t easily be reached. It also means you can just wander around and hope for the best – including a place that will actually let you plug your phone in long enough to make a call or send a text when absolutely necessary. It was a big part in being able to process everything I learned while I was out on the road.
It’s not that I don’t try to disconnect when I’m here in town; it’s the idea that I’ve let too many voices influence how and why I do what I do instead of my own (and those with other agendas). It just means that I need to be making an even more conscious effort to enjoy those disconnected moments than I was before – that and the need to find more ways to enjoy life disconnected with limited resources. I stopped worrying about missing things a while ago; now I’ve gotten better about not worrying about what others think about that choice.
Speaking of limited resources, I can’t wrap up without saying one huge digital “thank you!” to Michele McLellan, The Patterson Foundation, ONA, Bill McMullen, Alice Platt, Jessica Murray & my brother for making the two-week decompression possible.
I’m just wondering if you’ve already discovered the joy of disconnecting from the information stream – or if there’s something I’m missing…