Just back from nine glorious days in a cottage in a forest by the sea in Sweden. Swimming in the Baltic, soccer on the sandy beach, eating under the stars. It was heaven.
A big part of the charm was that we never once looked at a screen of any size: no email, no Internet, no phones, no TV.
Which made me wonder: is unplugging now the ultimate luxury?
Of course, being online can be wonderful. We are hardwired to be curious and to connect and communicate. The problem is that in a world of limitless information and constant access to other people, we often don’t know when to stop.
Being “always on” is exhausting and superficial. It erodes our producitivity. It locks us into what one Microsoft research called a state of “continuous partial attention.”
That’s why a backlash is gathering steam.
Consider the rise of the Slow Technology movement.
Or the response to news that more airlines are planning to allow travelers to use mobile phones and surf the Internet during flights.
You would expect a roar of applause from passengers desperate to stay connected in the air. But the opposite is true. A recent survey of business travelers – the Crackberry demographic – found that 91.2% were against wiring up flights for phone and Internet use.
Why? Because the plane is now the final frontier, the last place on earth where you can completely disconnect, where you can forget about your inbox and voicemail. A place to doze, doodle and daydream. A place where your time is truly your own.
One frequent flyer I know puts it this way: “I hate flying but I look forward to flights now because it’s the only time when no one can bother or interrupt me. These days I do some of my best thinking on planes.”
And of course there is another compelling reason to resist the wiring up of flights: Can you imagine anything worse than being woken by someone in the next seat shouting ”I’m on an airplane!” into a handset?
For more thoughts on this, check out my piece in the current issue of Vodafone Receiver.