It’s weird to think of off-grid life with a smartphone, isn’t it?
When we first moved to our land, in July of 2010 smartphones seemed like just another annoying fad. We drove to local cafes when we wanted to check something online. I wasn’t freelancing, Seth wasn’t selling his art, and only about 20% of the country was using these invasive little devices anyway.
No one expected constant access to us, so it was easy to stay only semi-connected to friends and family.
But the rise of the smartphone made it harder and harder to stay out of the net. A few years ago, when I tried to replace my little, battery-efficient flip-phone after dropping it in a bucket of water, I discovered just how pushy salespeople could be. There were no flip phone options. I started thinking that a smartphone with a wifi-hotspot could make it easier to sell my writing. Cafes were getting less attractive as my kids got older and wanted lattes of their own. So I caved and signed on to the trend.
I think I’ve regretted it ever since. Not only because smartphones have no battery-life. They need to be recharged a lot, which became a frustrating burden in our little off-gird house. Back-up chargers and mini solar panels take up space too! But it wasn’t until Instagram came out with some excessively invasive new user agreements that we talked seriously about transitioning back to an entirely offline house.
Since cafes aren’t even an option for us in this oppressive new system we’re under, I’m grateful to have my parents’ vacation cabin and my local in-laws nearby. I can still connect to the wide world, blog, write articles, and check my emails; but life in my little homestead is a lot quieter!
It’s made a huge difference in the amount of time I feel is in my day. Homeschooling, animal care, writing (by hand, in notebooks!), and all the other daily things are so much more accessible, while the news (and everyone in the world’s reaction to the news) is less accessible. My mind feels calmer already!
Do I miss anything? Right now, I still miss a few things – easy distractions are so fun, and I did love music and podcasts. But most of what I miss is like missing any unhealthy habit – oreos or cigarettes or trashy television – we all miss self-indulgence when it’s gone, but the feeling of kicking a bad habit is worth all the discomfort early on.
The feeling of quiet and interior solitude is amazing. I’m sure that could get addictive too!