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When my husband said he booked our anniversary trip to a place between Mazama and Winthrop Washington, I just about laughed. What in the world were we going to do almost four hours outside of Seattle?

I quickly remembered these architectural “huts” I had seen the year prior, set in a meadow with mountains peering in the background — bingo. My husband booked us at the Rolling Huts famed for its design by architect Tom Kundig from Seattle.

Most of my life is connected. At any given time, almost everyone knows where I am because of a check-in on Facebook, knows what I’ve experienced from a caption on Instagram, and heck, knows what makes me laugh by seeing my Snapchat feed. The public lifestyle that travel blogging demands has permeated almost every aspect of my life. And in irony, by choosing to write this, I am opening up yet another moment of my experience. In large, I’m okay with it. I enjoy getting to share this journey;   it provides me a meaningful and inspiring sense of connection with a large tribe and an encouraging community. That said, there is certainly a time and place for not sharing in a “live” format. 

With an opportunity to travel not for work, immersed in nature somewhere in the North Cascades National Park, I told my husband I’d be disconnecting for our 72 hours there. Truly a time to recalibrate and be in the moment. 

Here’s what I found from the three days:

Day 1 was humorous. I think the habit of holding the phone and scrolling was the most obvious. My hands felt empty, if that was such a thing. With no notifications, there was no need to have the phone and the limited service meant sparse connection even with Google Maps, so my phone mostly just stayed in my bag. As the day continued, out of habit I’d pick up the phone to light up the screen to find nothing there. 

It was in that moment I realized how many times my phone interrupts my day. Between all of the social accounts, emails, texts, and everything in between, I calculated an average of 125+ notifications a day. 125 interruptions. It was a bit mind blowing.

125 times I wasn’t focused on the moment at hand.
125 opportunities missed to look someone in the face by instead choosing to look down at my phone.
125 times my mind wandered elsewhere. 

**Disclosure: during the trip, my equally-competitive husband and I agreed to keep my Fitbit connected so that I could finish out a challenge with friends. Everything else was turned off. We even took an extra walk one night so I could get a few more steps, sorry not sorry.

Day 2 was a reminder. I felt like I had cleansed myself of an addiction — or something of that nature. I no longer knew what my friends were doing on Snapchat, or what people were posting on IG. I was far more interested in where I was and who I was with. The sense of presence fed my soul and heart. There’s both a beauty and ugliness to the ability to be connected. I believe social media can be beautiful from a communal and connecting aspect — it’s not all bad. It’s actually how I first discovered this place in Washington which has afforded my husband and I some time together disconnected. (Shout out to Local Wanderer, this place truly is brilliant.)

What I found myself disliking about the constant connection, though, was what it robs us of. I found myself reflecting back, seeing the times I robbed myself of being in the moment. Solution: pick and choose when to be connected on the apps, when to scroll the feeds and check notifications, and do it on my own time — not when I am with someone. 

Day 3 was all balance. There’s something ever looming when an experience comes full circle. As the bags got packed, the last few moments were savored, and the last of our 72 hours wound down, I began to reflect on what life would look like moving forward. The aspens that whistled near the deck, the same bees who were there the first morning, all of it which seemed so new a few sunrises ago, now seemed to be home. 

Something about being in nature, with almost no service, begs of you to look inward. As I look at waterfalls, see deer feed in the meadows, and gaze at snowcapped mountains, I can’t help but wonder what it all means to me. One of my favorite quotes says: “We are home in nature, and in nature we are at home.” The drive back to Seattle lent itself to conversation and goals around how to let social be a part of daily life, and what balance would look like. Something along the lines of picking and choosing, and recognizing the right time and place to be “connected.”

As I turned my phone back on I knew I had been disconnected long enough when a friend asked, “Where in the world are you?” 

(P.S. I learned how to shuffle cards, and make a pot of coffee that weekend, I found much beauty to be found in simple tasks.)

PS — Are You Booking a Trip Soon? Use My Booking Checklist!

These are the sites I use most to book my own trips. Using the links below is a great way to support Bon Traveler’s travel journalism at no extra cost to you. If you need help organizing your itinerary, get my free travel itinerary template here.

1. Book Your Flights

I use Skyscanner to find the best flights. It searches 100s of airlines and websites across the globe to ensure you’re not missing out on any route options or deals.

2. Book Your Accommodations

I use Booking.com for hotels and guest houses. They have the biggest inventory and consistently offer the best rates.

3. Book Your Tours & Experiences

I use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

4. Book Your Rental Car

Self-driving is the best way to explore most destinations. I use Discover Cars for our rental cars, select full coverage insurance, and opt for a reputable company like Alamo, Hertz, or Sixt.

5. Don’t Forget Airport Lounge Access

I use Priority Pass to gain access to 1,400+ VIP lounges and airport experiences worldwide. The Priority Pass app is the first thing I check when I have a layover. I’ve been a member for over a decade, and having a comfortable place to relax before and between flights makes air travel so much more enjoyable.

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I never leave the country without travel insurance. It provides comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong (ie. illness, injury, theft, and cancelations, etc.). I use it frequently for my travels to stay protected.

My favorite companies that offer the best coverage and rates are:


Xx,
Jessica

8 Comments

  1. weird & wonderful Reply

    Great post. It’s so important to disconnect & really be in the moment. This is something I am also struggling with, but this post reminds me to try harder. I’d love to take a weekend away without the hassle of notifications. I’ve turned off the notifications on my phone but I still find myself checking it often!
    weirdwonderfulwanderlust.blogspot.com

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Thank you for the note, I definitely love turning the notifications off!!

  2. We should all do things like this more often! Disconnecting really can be a beautiful (and necessary) thing. Especially for us bloggers. So glad you enjoyed Winthrop (or thereabouts)… my cousin was married there a few summers ago, absolutely gorgeous area!

    • Jessica Wright Reply

      Yes! Loved Winthrop and perfect place to disconnect 🙂

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