Unplugged in Shenandoah National Park

Prior to leaving on my 10-week travel extravaganza this summer I had to make some arrangements. One such arrangement was calling and getting a “nationwide” plan added to my cellphone for the months of June, July, and August. You see, in my little village the only cell provider is a local company called GCI. CGI only offers cell service in Alaska, which left me in a bit of a pickle. How was I going to use my phone in the lower 48 during the summer? Panic began to set in.

Luckily, upon calling GCI, I discovered that for $10/month you can add a “nationwide” plan to your regular plan. The added plan basically allows me to bounce off of T-Mobile cell towers and use their service. This sounded great! The key word being sounded. ¬†Almost every place I’ve gone has zero T-Mobile service. I’ve basically reverted back to the days of having to use a house phone to call anyone. Guess what? I’m loving it!

One of my goals for this year was to be more mindful. I am, unfortunately, the kind of person who spends a lot of time “plugged in.” I am constantly texting, calling, and browsing the internet. Because of my little phone snafu this summer though I have almost completely eliminated the problem, and I didn’t even mean to do it. I can still use the internet and text/FaceTime people with iPhones as long as I am connected to wifi, but any time I go in public I am 100% unplugged from the digital world.

This week I am in Virginia visiting my sister and her family. We decided one day to pack up in the early AM and drive to Shenandoah National Park, which was a total bucket list item for me. The park itself was incredible! We hiked Dark Hollow Falls Trail and Upper Hawksbill Trail in the park, we had a picnic out at one of their campgrounds, and we stopped at multiple little pull-off areas to sit and enjoy the beautiful day.

It was so nice to spend the day tech-free too. Well, almost tech-free. I did use my phone as a camera, but that was it! I didn’t text or sit around browsing websites the second we sat down at the picnic area. I had genuine, in-depth conversations with my sister and nieces. It was such a special day, and it was a reminder of how much more meaningful our interactions can be when technology is thrown out of the scenario.