3 Things I Learned On My Unplugged Vacation

Last week I took off on an "unplugged vacation", which started with a night at the High Hampton Inn in the Nantahala National Forest, and ended with 4 nights of camping by the Tallulah River in the Chattahooche National Forest.

My children were both out of town, but I went with Dwaine and a group of friends (his family) and also took my great dane, Slim. We had a fabulous time! From tubing the river and 4-wheeling in the mud, to just hanging out around a campfire and sharing stories and laughs...

There was very little signal once we got out of town, even most of the drive there which followed the Ocoee River. And that suited me just fine. I was ready to "unplug" for awhile. ;-)

Most of the time when I travel, even on personal trips, I stay connected and check in - and share photos & updates along the way.

This trip was different, not only due to the lack of signal or service - but because I went with the intention of being unplugged.

Being unplugged is as much a choice, or a mindset, as anything...

For me it was about taking a mental break. A break from ideas, from checking in, from being "in the stream". Instead I played in real streams for the week. :D

I took my Macbook along in case I wanted to sit and do some writing in the peaceful setting of the deep woods, but I never even cracked it open. I took my iPad along too, because it had a great new book on it that I thought I might read. I never so much as powered it on.

I also took my smart phone (Droid X) which is what I used to snap pictures along the way.

I checked in occasionally, if we rode into town or otherwise got random 3G service, but even then it was only a quick look to see that everything was running smooth. And it was. :)

Still, it was nothing like the usual routine of being "plugged in to the grid" every waking hour.

Not that I mind that, because I don't. I love technology and everything it has added to my life! But taking a break, a mental break more than anything, was absolutely fabulous.

I returned late Thursday night feeling tired but refreshed, incredibly inspired, and looking forward to my work & usual routine.

I was especially anxious to get home and work on my new niche blog.

Particularly because the trip was relevant to that niche (traveling & eating low carb).

There were three things that really stood out to me while "unplugged" - and one negative, even.

I thought I'd share those with you here as several people mentioned on Facebook and Twitter that they'd love to hear about my experience and get my thoughts on it...

3 Things I Learned While Unplugged

1. My assistant is awesome. (I already knew that) ;) Angie and I usually work closely, and I keep myself available to her even while traveling. On this particular trip though, I was off the grid for the most part. It gave me a deep appreciation of just how invaluable she is, and what an asset she is to my business.

If there's one thing you should invest in, it's an assistant. Even if you have (or plan to have) an entire team, you need ONE person that you can communicate with directly. Someone you can trust. Someone that knows your business inside and out. Someone that shares your values. And someone that can manage your team for you.

2. Passive Income rocks! No matter where I am or what I'm doing, I'm always earning more money than I'm spending. While I'm sleeping, while I'm kicked back reading a book on a 14 hour flight from L.A. to Australia, or while I'm sitting by the river for four straight days with no internet access. And that is a NICE feeling.

No matter what your business model, look for ways to set up Passive Income sources. I did this in my service-based business many years ago, and continue to incorporate it into everything that I do.

3. Evernote is my all-time favorite app. Period. It is one of the few that syncs cross-platform. I can put photos, ebooks, lists, notes, etc into Evernote - and it does way more than I will ever even use.

While I was "unplugged" I had an opportunity to totally relax & unwind. This allowed for creative ideas and inspiration, which I of course wanted to jot down to remember later when I was back to work. I opened Evernote on my smart phone, jotted down a note, and closed it back.

When I got back to my home office all of my Evernote notes were right here on both my Mac and my PC. No transferring of files. I wasn't stuck working on a specific device. It was right where I wanted it (everywhere!) so I could sit down anywhere and just go straight to work. Perfect!

The Downside To Taking An Unplugged Vacation

Alright, so there was one itty bitty downside to this fabulous vacation and mental break. :P LOL. I found it hard to get back into my routine once I "plugged back in".

It's amazing how much we are tuned in to on a regular basis. How much content we consume, even if it's just scanning streams & bits.

Personally I have multiple screens tuned in to various channels, along with my smart phone which is with me 24/7.

And I enjoy that! But stepping away from it for several days straight can make it awkward to step back in. In fact it took me a couple of days to wrap my head around processing the incoming data again, without flinching at least - lol.

All is fine & well now of course, and I'm happily catching up with tasks & conversations and excited about the week ahead. I'm also already planning to take another week of unplugged vacation next summer - and perhaps every summer. It was a great way to reset the brain! ;-)

Best,

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Lisa Marie Mary says:

    Your vacay/camping trip sounds absolutely wonderful! There is no place more soothing to me than being out in the woods relaxing. I would actually pick that over a fancy trip, any day. Sure, I might like to see the world one day, who knows. But nature is mostly where it's at for me.

    You know what's funny? When you were talking about getting back into things and how there's a bit of a struggle jumping back in the fray, I was nodding my head. I can totally relate to that feeling. And the funny thing is, the visual in my brain was three person jump roping. You know, when it's your turn to jump into the ropes? And there's that back and forth, back and forth, hang on, let me get my groove....okay! Jump! ;)

    • Exactly! lol And I'm with you - I'd take camping over a traditional vacation ANY day. I'm not really the tourist type, and enjoy just getting away (from everything!) more than anything. :D

      • Lynn thanks for sharing your experience with us regarding your unplugged vacation. Your refreshing point of view definitely made an impact and I'm making a decision to plan my own unplugged vacation in the coming weeks.

        It's quite crazy as you mentioned just how much of our lives we spend "jacked in" so to speak to the digital consumption habits we have embedded into our life and in terms of overall balance in life I think we all need to take time away from our digital selves to focus on our physical being.

        Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Thank you, Lynn! I'm sure glad I can help you have a true unplugged vacation and not have to worry about anything.

    Even when we go to Jamaica, I'm still plugged in but I make it a point to only do that early in the morning before the rest of the resort wakes up and at night after all the fun when I'm winding down for the night. Can't imagine taking a fully unplugged vacation yet but I'm sure I'll get there one day. I'm just thankful we can take nice vacations!

    Oh and I know the feeling of getting back into the swing of things. That is the hardest for me.

    Love Evernote too!

  3. I enjoyed seeing your vacation pictures. I can relate to the difficulty getting back into things. We took a long weekend last summer and I only checked in twice during those few days, it was really hard getting back into work mode once we got home.

    • I took several long naps the first few days I was home. A 4-hour nap the first day, in fact. LOL. I think just the thought of being back wore me out. :P haha

  4. Your vacation sounds awesome. It's always good to unplug and totally recharge the batteries even if for a week or two. Even though I spend a lot of time online, I do give myself breaks when I'm out and about - because I don't have net on my phone. I'm fighting it tooth and nail because I know when I get it, then I will be plugged in 24/7. So am resisting it as long as I can. But if T-mobile ever picks up the iPhone, i'm doomed. lol.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself and thanks for letting us in on it, vicariously. The river and woods sound so awesome.

    Cheers,
    Missy

    • It was truly beautiful :D

      I do love my smart phone though. It makes it easy to stay on top of everything no matter where I am (which is usually NOT in the office lol). The first thing I did when I set up things in new niches is set them up on my mobile so I can easily manage & update on the go. ;-)

  5. Your vacation sounds wonderful. I would take a camping trip any time over fancy hotels. I am very into nature and "getting away from it all." In fact, I will be leaving on a two week camping trip to the Pacific Northwest very soon. I don't know about you but getting away from my business, even for just a day or two, seems to help me better focus when I do return to it.

    I agree with that having passive income as a part of any business model is a necessity if you ever want to really get away from your business and still have an income.

    Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    • Thank you Carol :) I agree. Without passive income, I'd be chained to my office. And as nice as a home office is, I've been there done that and don't plan to ever go back to it! lol

      Enjoy your camping trip!! Two weeks sounds *fabulous*. I would have loved to have stayed longer myself.

  6. Your vacation looks fantastic - we all need to see that deep greenery once in a while!

    Thanks for your top 3 - a good assistant is a MUST (and I'm working on that), I think we are ALL striving for passive income, but EVERNOTE? That one took me by surprise. I've got it but don't use it anywhere as much as I should. I will add it to the "things to do after the webinar" list.

    And getting back onto the grid does highlight how we create our own level of urgency to be online all of the time. It's a good time to ask ourselves what we didn't miss and cut that back!

    Can't wait 'til I'm going bush again - it's only a few weeks away for me!

    • I've been working myself away from the traditional pen & paper, and making it a point (a habit even) to use Evernote. The fact that it syncs cross-platform is invaluable to me! There's nothing like coming home and sitting down, and having all of your notes (you took mobile) right there in front of you. Love it!!

  7. Fanta Tikole says:

    Sometimes it's just good to unplug for a little while. When you come back you are refreshed with a clearer perception of what it is you are here for. Your pics show that you thoroughly enjoyed that much needed time off. Loved this post.

  8. Enjoyed your pics, Lynn! Looks like a fantastic time. My husband and I were talking about this very topic just yesterday afternoon.

    The week before, we spent traveling to North Carolina for my son's wedding. I, too, went intentionally unplugged. I didn't even bring my laptop. (My husband checked to make sure I didn't have a fever. LOL)

    I assured him we were going to enjoy the wedding as it was the first time our entire family has been together in years...grandparents included.

    We were gone for 9 days, I checked email twice at the hotel business center and that was it.

    There is nothing better than passive income! It is such an amazing feeling when you get those PayPal notices "You've Got Money!" or unexpected affiliate checks in the mail while you're on vacation.

    Granted, there was a lot of work that went into creating that passive income, however, the rewards are the time freedom to be able to go camping, celebrate a wedding or just do whatever.

    When we got back, it took me 3 solid days to get back into the groove, but that's o.k. That's what it's all about, right?

    It's stories like these that show the reality of what is possible and I think that's what so many people want and need to see.

    • Glad you guys enjoyed a nice unplugged trip as well! How nice. :D I agree with you - it was definitely an investment in self & business to set up passive income, but now it comes second nature in everything I do online. SO worth it!!

  9. Graham Lutz says:

    I LOVE Evernote! I can't say enough good things about it! Its' searchability is so awesome.

    My best use for it so far has been to store label information on bottles of wine I love when I'm out. You know how you never remember that one bottle that was so awesome that one time?

    • Ahhh smart! There's a bottle of muskedine (sp) from a winery in Florida I would LOVE to remember and get ahold of again. I'm still kicking myself for not jotting that one down somewhere. :P

  10. Glad to hear you had a nice vacation, Lynn. John Chow made that same point about passive income.Build it up and let it roll.

    It's the only way.

    Beautiful pictures, BTW...:)

    Mark

  11. Vacations are great, but I always end up checking my email and saying that: it's too quiet here! I think that makes me a little workaholic! :)

    • LOL Mia. I admitted to checking in a few times myself. But for me it was a very interesting experience to have so little to do. Fortunately I brought a great novel with me to finish, but other times I found myself a little fidgety. LOL.

  12. unplugged ... I love that, who would of thunk they would have that term, say 20 years ago? oh wait, did somebody do an album ? never mind...
    Lynn, I always love how real you are and I suppose it is because I relate to you and that directly ...
    You are genius in sharing and it is that real that people are now trying to "mimic" ... which is kinda funny, they can not remember their "real" ...
    I look forward each time I see a post from you ... it is refreshing ...
    Big hugs and smiles as always
    and
    PS ... whenever we go adventuring here on the Oregon Coast, I am forced to be unplugged and find myself genuinely appreciating that much more what I am capturing and sharing with all of you ;-) ... you are brilliant ;-)

    • Such a good topic. It's hard to teach "be genuine".

      Thank you for the kind words. I bet your coast is gorgeous!! I'm off to check out your tweets & link to see if you have any pics. ;-)

  13. So glad you enjoyed your trip. Not only is it nice to hear about it, but it's nice to see my Internet Marketing role model demonstrate that it's possible. A future goal for sure.

  14. Hi Lynn,
    Glad you enjoyed your few days off on holiday! - that is away from your computer. Don't know if jotting down notes applies though! lol That 'ol brain just keeps on ticking over with new ideas.

    Regards
    Catherine

  15. Matt Poc says:

    Oh yeah, I love passive income as well... Especially when I'm on holiday, just like you was :)

    That's why my main strategies are automated, like creating a product, then finding other people and asking them to put my banners on their thank you pages, blogs, follow up sequences.

    In the past I also thought that SEO is passive income. I would say it is half true, because Google likes to change things quite often... but anyway, I do some SEO stuff as well :)

    I love reading about other people's vacations...

    Matt Poc

  16. Very glad to see pictures of your vacation trips and by reading interesting stories.It looks very pleasurable when we close our all work and go for some outing with our friends.It is really the moment of happiness and good luck.

  17. Great holiday story. Nantahala National Forest seems like a beautiful place. Isn't it?

    Your travel photos and interesting stories inspire me. I can't wait to travel and share the same stories on my blog. Thanks lynn and welcome back. I'm glad to read your posts again.

  18. Unplugged... It feels good doesn't, well once you get past the fear your life is going to crash.
    Love the pic of the toys, it's right up my alley!

  19. Looking at your ATV photo, I just fell off one of those about 2 weeks ago. It was at the beach on soft sands. Still laughing at myself...

    Anyway, nice read. Thanks for sharing... yep, those three rocks!

  20. Unplugged vacations are so awesome. It's like real freedom if you're able to just shut off that phone and not have to check in for a bit. Thank you for posting.

  21. storybeader says:

    glad you had a nice time in the wilds. I also enjoy evernote, but always forget it's name! When I do remember (at home it's on my toolbar) I put things there that I want to look at more closely. {:-Deb

  22. Lynn,

    Great post, as always. So great to see you having such a relaxed and fun time with friends and especially with Slim the web wonder dog! ;-) I am sure he will have his own post to tell about his adventures The pictures were fun to see but greater still to see you having fun and relaxing after all the hard work you do.

    I was so glad to see that you acknowledged Angie - she does great work and I know she is a huge asset to you. I am hopeful to find someone like her one day when I get ready to hire an assistant.

    Your post is very inspirational and gives me great encouragement that I too can get to the point to be earning passive income as a full-time business one day soon. Until then, will be on your list and continuing to learn how to do it from you. :-)

    Sheri

  23. I'm glad to see you managed to have such a trip and realize its benefits. I get "unplugged" at least once a month for 2-3 days, maybe because i live close to the mountains and it's easy for me to disappear whenever i feel like it.
    We need these kind of pauses because we get a lot of information every day and a few days from time to time to simply disconnect is a must.

  24. You wouldn't believe how i long for such a trip. I'm close to never even leaving the house, you can imagine how far i'd get with a trip like that.
    Truth is i'm at my limits.

  25. It is amazing how much we are plugged in during our day to day life. I don't even think that people really even think about how much time they spend each day on either the cell phone or the computer. It is nice to just leave the laptop and the cell phone behind every now and again. But, it always seems like when you do that then you come home to twice as much work waiting for you with missed e-mails and messages!

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