This is pretty personal…but it needs to be told. Especially if I can share a couple lessons and show you what I learned and save you going through this to figure it out.
3 weeks ago I left for Europe with two suitcases, my husband, one laptop and 2 IPhones. This was a big concession for me. Normally I have an IPad – I decided I would throw caution to the wind and rough it without the Ipad.
The book I chose to take with me to read on the plane was “The One Thing” – I recommend that you read it. It was SO appropriate to my circumstances and has a lot of valuable things to say. (not an affiliate)
Well, I’m going to make this long story a little shorter. I truly believe that what happened when I hit England was a kind of a Divine intervention…you can call it a message from the universe if you like.
To be 100% honest, the reason I felt I could make it without my IPad is that Sprint told me I could have internet service ALL the way through Europe – England, France and Scotland. I just needed to use my hotspot from my phone for the laptop – when I wasn’t using my son’s wifi – or the wifi in the plane, hotel or bus.
It was my intention to work about 30 minutes a day after everyone went to bed….and peek at emails and Facebook first thing in the morning while you all were sleeping.
We left Sunday and arrived on Monday. It was great – not too much going on because you were 6 hours behind.
Tuesday – my laptop went black. I immediately panicked, walked into town (it’s the cutest little market town – dating back to King Alfred). The computer repair was a combination repair shop and tailor. I’m not kidding. The mom was sewing and the boys looked at my computer – jiggled the battery, plugged it in and it worked! Yay! I left happy and it was free.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – it quit working – but I jiggled it and it was good to go.
On Saturday we left for Weymouth (on the tip of the country, between France and England – it was gorgeous) – my IPhone internet quit working. At first I felt isolated and a little panicked – even though my son and his wife had service. We’d rented a house for the weekend (through Tuesday) and had wi-fi there. My computer quit responding to jiggling – it was a goner. The only thing my phone was good for was pictures. I had no choice, I had to enjoy my family and had nothing to do but that. We walked down a footpath and saw the sea…we walked and walked. We ate out, shopped, played at the beach, climbed the cliffs and the light house – all without wireless devices or internet – and it was good.
The minute we got back to my son’s house – I ran back down to the sewing/computer shop. It was diagnosed to need a new graphics card and I was leaving for Nice in 2 days – not enough time for them to get it in. So – I went home and had to conduct all my travel business on my phone….thank goodness for the phone. My son told me – just in case – take screenshots of the airline tickets and airbnb info (which is another story all in itself)…
THANK GOODNESS for his foresight. When we arrived in Nice, my phone didn’t work. Sprint said it would- but it didn’t. I was stranded in a foreign country – alone with my husband – and because I didn’t think he needed a phone there and only paid for mine, neither of us had service. Thank goodness our Airbnb had wifi. The cab driver dropped us off 2 blocks from our loft. We walked straight to it and the doors weren’t marked – I’m going to leave 3/4 of that story out – but – the wifi didn’t work and the mattress was on the floor and the apartment smelled like sour chocolate milk. (turned out our “loft” was on the first floor and we weren’t even in the right one – unmarked doors).
We ended up in the hotel up the street – (you couldn’t make this stuff up) – and they had wifi! We were moved into 3 different rooms because of water leaking through the ceiling and then “dinky-ness”. They assigned their best guy to smooth things over with my husband. I asked him how to get the wifi to work and he said “they know better than that – that wifi has never worked – spotty at the very best is all we could hope for”…it never worked. We went to different restaurants that said they had wifi – but they didn’t work. I tried the computer in the hotel – but I’m so used to using lastpass, I didn’t know any of my usernames or passwords. Finally I decided we would go to the airport the next day and get everything set for the return flight and then just do without.
We walked everyplace – 20,000 steps is what I averaged per day! (Penni – I had over 30,000 steps not counted, so I really beat you 🙂 I don’t know how you get all those steps in in Oklahoma) – anyway, even my fitbit ran out of juice and I couldn’t charge it without my computer. We wondered by a little restaurant called “The Green Stop” – Green juice! Celery, Cucumber, Apple – that was what I needed. I took out my phone, set the wifi – the ONLY place that had working wifi in all of Nice was a juice shop. Figures. I let everyone know where we were with a Facebook post – checked my flight and screenshotted it and got off my phone. It was a giant surprise – I was enjoying being away from the internet. We went back once a day to the “Green Stop” and drank our juice, checked email, posted a couple pics and left.
I’m not kidding – by the end of our trip in Nice – my husband and I were holding hands. Oh my gosh – it has been years since we did that. We went to all the museums (grown up stuff- architecture, modern art, Matisse….) – talked all the time (because there was no computer in my face) – no Fox News in his. We had fun and we both feel like we stepped back in time to the days before we had kids and grandkids.
Buses have wifi. When we flew back to London, we took a bus from Gatwick to Oxford and looked like two addicts on our phones. We were bugging the heck out of Jeff. We didn’t know we were each giving updates on where we were – me from google maps and Gary from the road signs. My phone didn’t go back to working on it’s own – but the bus had wifi- and I knew that we would have wifi when we got to his house for the rest of the time. (Scotland had been postponed for a work situation).
So – I spent most of my time in Europe unplugged and lived to talk about it. Ciara and I colored and played Barbies and got our hair done together. Jackson I played cars and airplanes and went for walks to see the ducks. My husband, my son’s family and I all spent time together unplugged – we played, we practiced British terminology, ate great meals, walked…and walked and walked.
For all our remaining flights (after the flight over), we didn’t have to carry my laptop in the carry on because it didn’t work – we packed it away and didn’t use the internet between London and USA.
Here’s what though – it would have been a disaster if I hadn’t left my business in the very capable hands of my team….Ashlie, Shianne, Amanda, Karen – and all the people I can rely on to carry on without my supervision. I am grateful for them. They were still plugged in when I wasn’t.
My new resolution is to stay off Facebook and email checking. I want to have Monday through Friday to be as productive as my Saturday – and if that happens – I won’t have to catch up on Saturday. I am going to deliberately unplug for future vacations. My son even said he felt like I was more “present and engaged”. – When you only see each other a couple times a year – that’s big.
We have one more trip ahead. Club Med, Sandpiper. That is November 4-8 in Port St. Lucie, FL. Last year I unplugged. This year I will do the same. The reason? I know that I can’t do too many things at once and do any of it well. The health coaches at Club Med will receive my undivided attention. Which is the other part to this.
If I hadn’t left my 34 year old Interior Design business behind and learn how to conduct business on the internet, I wouldn’t have even been able to go on this trip. You just can’t leave brick and mortar businesses without loss. This is what I am teaching and have created tools for. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO. I can not tell you what it means to my happiness and quality of life to be able to spend this irreplaceable time with my son and his family. I get to be with my grandchildren – who are pure and ultimate joy. All you need is to know how to create your on line business and what tools are essential. That is what I do…and I can’t really think of anything more worthwhile – in the whole world – to share. My special BIG bonus is I get to help you to make a difference in the lives of others – in your business. WIN – WIN – WIN – WIN and WIN!!!
Well, this was a long one. I think it was worth the time. I hope you will unplug for a little bit – then plug back in and get busy creating a business you love so you can live the life you deserve! This is what it’s ALL about.