LearnDisconnecting from the Internet is Simple


Hampton Paulk
writes on September 4, 2013

Earlier today Spencer Fry posted about the challenge of disconnecting from the internet in his article Disconnecting from the Internet is Impossible, I lovingly disagree.

With everything set up for you to take time away from the internet, and you expecting your days to be filled with sailing and conversation, it would seem that there would be nothing to worry about other than keeping your ship afloat.

Sadly, most of us have forgotten how to be alone with ourselves. Maybe you knew this disconnect was doomed before you set sail, but for the sake of discussion, let’s assume not.

TL;DR Leave your phone below deck, grab that old film camera and a few rolls of whatever, bring a book made of paper, a few pens or pencils and a notepad, and get to know yourself again.

Check in on Paper

Write about your experience as it happens. At night in your bunk, instead of looking at photos of what your co-worker ate or replying to that tweet, take time to reflect on your day and then post about it when you return.

Capture a Photo on Faith

Film has, for the most part, become a novelty and a chance most are unwilling to take; but hell, you are on a boat so let’s be novel. Speaking earnestly, you would get even more internet money by taking an Instagram photo of your film photo and be able to tag it with ‘nofilter’.

A Lull in Conversation is a Good Thing

It seems like here we should want for those meditative thoughts, those moments of reflection. Perhaps it’s time to reflect on a single word: self-control. Why stare into a tiny little screen to see who is buying who, what tween role model is ‘twerking’ for charity, or that gif on reddit where yet another unsuspecting cat walks into a saran-wrapped doorway? You are in a location where no one will look at you cross for just staring off into the ocean or just jotting a few gems that just appeared in your stream of consciousness.

The internet is a drug — a powerful one, a magical one, whose power outweighs all others that you will try.

A More Obvious Solution to this ‘Impossible’ Task

Learn to disconnect through self-control if you truly want to disconnect, but never say you cannot. We choose to connect socially through digital means and we can choose to connect in other ways.

We are social beings, of that point I fully agree. Just don’t forget about yourself.


Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Get Started

12 Responses to “Disconnecting from the Internet is Simple”

  1. Katrina Esther on September 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm said:

    Not having to read every social media update feels great. And, your words are so fruitful!

  2. Very well written, love it!

  3. Jenny Chan on September 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm said:

    It’s easy when 1) you go on vacation or 2) you don’t have to work, preferably armed with a few books from A Song of Ice and Fire.

  4. My iphone has been wonky lately and stopped sending me push notifications from 95% of my apps and I have to say, it’s truly been a godsend. When you don’t have that constant poking and prodding from all of your online accounts, it’s way easier to mindful about them since you have to go out of your way to check them. I can see having notifications for facebook messages, gmail’s priority inbox, etc. so that you can stay in communication but it’s really refreshing to leave behind the likes, retweets, and “Your facebook friend astroturf89 has joined instagram!”

  5. I think it’s tough to disconnect in daily life because it’s all so normal. Especially when ‘you have a moment’, you fall back to doing something completely useless if you have the means. But when I go on a holiday it’s very easy to disconnect. I just went on a 2 week retreat on a sunny island in a foreign country. So I had no internet and barely any wifi at all. I only used the pub’s wifi to send out a few messages to friends, but that’s basically it (and pretty normal, hey I miss those people :- ) ). I didn’t check facebook, twitter or any other form of information overload. Plus I spend more time reading a book than I ever did before.

    And I have to say: it’s so good to disconnect for a good amount of time. It’s refreshing!

    You really tune down, get into a healthy rhythm (because that daily information overload is just cooking your brain) and you start to see again what is important and worthwhile your attention. I like messages about marriages, child births and other life events. I don’t like the overload of people posting every little annoyingly uninterested thing about their life.

    Funny thing is, everybody STILL gets used to it. The internet is a dangerous drug indeed. After a while you’re just hunkering to read that update or check that tweet. Just to see if there’s anyhing new, even if it’s completely crap, to check out.

    I don’t think its bad to stay connected, but maybe in a lesser sense would be more healthy to the mind. The problem is that social media/networks are so intertwined in daily life it’s tough to stay away from them and not feel like missing out 🙂

    So maybe it’s not even a bad idea to delete your accounts. People will have to actually put effort into contacting you. How about that.

    • Woops didn’t read the replies before that. Nice I put alot of words into saying the same thing, we’re addicted 🙂

    • Hampton Paulk on September 5, 2013 at 9:24 am said:

      Well said Peter. For mer personally it comes down to what Merlin Mann always speaks on in regards to time and attention. You make the time for the things you want to make time for. I like to write letters, other’s like to tweet. Its just all what is important to you and where you want to focus you attention.

  6. Thanks for writing a response to my article earlier today. The great thing about the Internet and blogging is the back and forth dialogue.

    “Maybe you knew this disconnect was doomed before you set sail, but for the sake of discussion, let’s assume not.”

    I definitely didn’t set out on my trip with the intention of checking my email, text messages, Twitter, etc., but it happened *and* it happened for all seven of us. Of course we could have checked in on paper, used a digital camera, and pulled the SIM cards out of our phones. That would have put an end to any temptation.

    My article was more a social commentary on our addiction to technology. It’s really hard — in a way I’m arguing that it’s possible — to go four days without it and that’s troubling to me. Next time I’ll head to the mountains. 🙂

    • Hampton Paulk on September 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm said:

      Howdy! I totally agree we are addicted to technology. Most of us are digital lemmings for sure, try as i might, it is hard to be the one person at the dinner table with your phone put away. I just hope we all can have the foresight to see what we are truly missing when we are trying not to miss all the things on the internet! Lucky for us the internet is an archive. Let me know when you head up for that trip to the mountains, as I would love to go with.

  7. Love both sides of this argument! I agree with this one, though. 🙂

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

man working on his laptop

Are you ready to start learning?

Learning with Treehouse for only 30 minutes a day can teach you the skills needed to land the job that you've been dreaming about.

Start a Free Trial
woman working on her laptop