Tales From the Road: Life Without Internet

Several years ago, my precious Carol and I stayed at an RV Campground for six weeks in southern Washington. It was a beautiful area, but the campground had one thing missing. It did not provide wi-fi service for us. They did provide it for people staying for two weeks or less, but those of us who stay long-term have to pay for our own internet service, wi-fi, and electricity. All you veteran RVers probably know what I’m talking about, but this was new to us.

I laughingly and facetiously asked Carol, “Is there life without internet?”

She reminded me of when our three older kids were in elementary school. The school officials were going to conduct an experiment that was titled: Is there life after TV? The Public Schools were cooperating in a research endeavor regarding the effects of television on family life.

This was not mandatory for everyone, but on Monday morning all kids in the school were encouraged to refrain from watching television for the next 7 days. The kids took notes home to their parents asking them to participate with the project.

The kids were asked to bring in daily reports of what they did each day and how life changed, but in our house, we watched very little TV anyway, so our quality of life did not change. Darlene, Ron, and Jeremy practiced their musical instruments a little more and we got into more family discussions. But I was surprised when Carol told me how much better we all got along with each other.

Guess what? Shortly after this educational experiment, we sold the TV and used the money for music lessons. Our kids were in on the family pow-wow, and that decision was unanimous.

For all the other students in the school, was there life after television? After just two days, there was weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth in many of the homes – and much of that came from the parents!

It was surprising how many families had wrapped and warped their lives around the screen that usurped so much of their time. Unplugging the television was like a divorce, and life was shattered. Many families couldn’t take it and turned the TV back on! Relief flooded their homes as each family member resumed going his or her separate way.

That was in 1979. We still do not immerse ourselves in television, theater, entertainment, etc. Our daughters and Carol & I own televisions, but the TVs are tools we use at our discretion. On the other hand, our two married boys, Ron and Jeremy, don’t own television sets. We all understand what life is about.

Now, where was I? Oh yes … is there life without the internet?

The first question Carol and I asked ourselves is: What is the purpose of this extended trip?

The purpose is two-fold. We realized that if nothing in our lives changed in these, our later years, we would not be making any new memories. So 1) I resigned from my responsibilities to reduce stress, and be with Carol. And 2) I need time to write two or three books.

And guess what? It was great! Even without internet.

But let me be open with you: I do need wi-fi and internet periodically, but not 24/7. I have to have internet capability – as when I need to email, submit blogs, send my Reflection articles to the newspaper, and do research – and the park officials allow me to intermittently use their service. But leaving the RV to do that means I plan my time judiciously because I enjoy spending time with Carol.

So, are there benefits of not having internet and TV? Yes, that’s why I am not paying for it at RV campsites. But we are paying for electricity. That comes in handy if we want to have lights, heat, and use of the computer – wi-fi or not.

One man asked me, “Don’t you want continuous use of your e-mail service?”

I told him that I can live without most of the e-mail I receive. E-mail that friends and family send can be answered when I have time. I reminded him of the benefit of e-mail: others can send e-mail at THEIR convenience, and I can respond at MY convenience. I am not hog-tied to the internet or e-mail; the telephone is for immediate interaction – usually.

 Well, since you’re reading this, I suppose the internet is working. Have a great day.

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