The End of Summer in the Lower 48

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind. Cody and I began traveling the last week of May and we are just now wrapping up our travels through the Lower 48 (Note: Lower 48 is what Alaskans call the states other than themselves and Hawaii). We’ve been all over the place. Between the two of us we’ve been to Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. We’ve hiked in Shenandoah National Park, swam in Lake Michigan, flown in tiny airplanes above the cornfields in Illinois, and gone fishing off the Florida coast.

As this travel extravaganza draws to a close, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with all of the amazing adventures and meaningful interactions we’ve had this summer. When I sat down and thought about this, I immediately thought of my goal of being more mindful this year, which then made me sit back and reflect on how I spent my time this summer.

In many ways, I felt like I was mindful and made an extra effort to spend time with family, take day trips to explore the surrounding areas, and just relax. In other ways though, I feel like I was so “plugged in.” I used my phone  A LOT. I used my computer A LOT. Part of the time, I’m sure my technology usage was no big deal, but other times I wish I would have just put my electronics aside. I do feel like I did a good job of spending quality time with people this summer and trying new things, but I also know that when we were just lounging at the house (and not my house, so there weren’t really projects I could be working on) I would use my computer or phone frequently.

I don’t really see myself ever totally giving up technology, especially with what I do for a living and how far away I live from my family and friends. For nine months out of the year my only communication with family is using FaceTime to call them, blog posts to keep them updated about my life, and Facebook to show them pictures of what it is like where I live. However, I do think there is always room for improvement. Right now I’m trying to work on some goals for myself for the next school year. Maybe one of them could be not using my cell phone for the hour before bed? Or another could maybe be leaving my laptop at work one night a week? I’m still working out the kinks, but I do know that I want to be more present when I am at home.