stay connected and on the grid on your vacation

Stay On The Grid: An Anecdotal Argument For The Connected Vacation

There seems to be be no shortage of posts and articles, containing lists and infographics that promote the idea that one must completely disconnect and remove themselves from the “grid” if they are to get the full value of a vacation.

The thought-leaders that frequent social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are always there with a great example of successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk or Sergey Brin—you know, guys just like you and me—that, when on vacation, leave their smartphones and clothes on the mainland and retreat to obscure islands to romp naked in the sand and devour book after book, learning about alternative philosophies and religions. Their search for knowledge via the printed word only interrupted by participation in local, traditional, peyote-colored ceremonies. What tropical paradise is complete without a vision quest or two?

My first instinct is say something like, “Well, that’s great if you can afford it.” But, I don’t think I would do that even if I had billions of dollars. That just isn’t me.

I need to be connected, no matter how remotely located on this planet I find myself.

I need to be connected, no matter how remotely located on this planet I find myself. I don’t need to be glued to my smartphone all day or in front of my laptop in the hotel lobby—though that is where you may find me at 3 am after a full day of vacation-related activities. Professionally, I need to know if somebody is trying to reach me at my business, ATI Graphics, Inc. I need to know if a client is having problems or needs files from me. I need to know if an employee has a question that is holding up a project. Aside from business concerns, I also need to know that my mother is okay.

So, regardless of what the “experts” say, staying connected and periodically checking the phone for voicemail, email and texts will not ruin your getaway.

Let me stop you right there.

Many have suggested that I don’t know the benefit that I am missing and I should try to go off the grid the next time we hop on a plane to faraway lands. Let me just stop you right there.

Back in 2005, upon arriving on the island of St. Lucia to start our two week honeymoon, my wife and I stepped off the prop plane that transported us over the final leg of our journey. As I hit the tarmac, I pulled out my flip phone—these were pre-smartphone days, though my phone did receive emails and texts—held the power button down and waited for the phone to turn on, initialize and find the cell connection. Nothing.

“No problem, Mr. Bloom. You’re all set!”

Prior to embarking on the trip, I had phoned my cellular carrier, told them where I was going to be and asked if there was anything I need to configure or purchase in order to have phone and data access on the island. “No problem, Mr. Bloom. You’re all set!” said the confident sounding customer support representative on the other end of the conversation.

Since we were thousands of miles from home and weren’t returning anytime soon, I had to make my peace with the situation. And, to my surprise, as well as to the astonishment of my new bride, I didn’t panic or get angry or frustrated. I just said something like, “Oh well. I guess I’m out of luck.”

I was as off-the-grid as I had been in a very long time.

Except for a weekly check-in facilitated by the resort’s loose definition of a “business center,” which consisted of a flaky, slow and expensive Internet connection, a few old desktop PCs and a loose CAT5 cable to plug-in my laptop, I was as off-the-grid as I had been in a very long time.

I admit, this was not the worst thing in the universe. 

Even though I had made peace with the situation, and the last thing I wanted to do was ruin our honeymoon, I felt a constant, underlying stress just poking at me throughout the days. Not knowing if somebody was trying to reach me, or if a project was stalled, was very disruptive to relaxation for me.

Even if I found a way to totally divorce myself from the daily concerns of my business, they would all be waiting for me upon my return, and all require my immediate attention. Not to mention opportunities missed simply because I couldn’t return an email or phone call to an existing or potential client. A quick, “Got your message, but we’re out of town. Let’s talk when I return,” could be the difference between keeping or losing business. Actually, knowing that I have a new prospective client or two lined up when I return to work would make me pretty content.

Look, I have no data to support my position. This is purely anecdotal and based solely on my own experience. But, I’m guessing that I am not unique and many, if not most, business owners and managers would—or at least should—have the same opinion.

Oh, and if you don’t believe that I can kick back and relax on a faraway beach, here you go…

Larry Bloom staying connected on a beach somewhere.
The author, in full relaxation mode, on a beach somewhere far away.

 

 

 

Larry Bloom

About Larry Bloom

In addition to being the editor of the BOC | NETWORKING blog, the host and facilitator of all BOC meetings and events, as well as the Vice President of the prestigious Highland Park Chamber of Commerce, Larry Bloom is the President of ATI Graphics, Inc., a Highland Park, Illinois based branding, graphic design and web development and consulting firm established in 1997. In a crowded field of branding and web consultants that have materialized to capitalize on an expanding industry, Larry Bloom stands apart. With 16 years of web development and over 20 years of design and branding under his belt, Bloom eclipses many of today’s “experts” by offering a modern eye for strategy and a “pre-web” sensibility about business and marketing. Over the years, he has helped businesses make millions of dollars by educating clients on effective messaging and the difference between a web site and a web presence. Bloom's "On-Demand Advisor" program offers great value to clients. You can learn more about ATI Graphics, Inc. at www.atigraphics.com