What I’ve Learned From Two Summers Without Internet

Could you go without Internet? How long could you stay disconnected? The Internet has become a household necessity for most people. Does it have to be? Could you go a summer without Internet? I went two summers without Internet. In this post, I’ll share what I learned:

Two Summers Without Internet

Today, the Internet is everywhere. Simply disconnecting at home, as I did, won’t keep you away from it. If you really want to delete the Internet from your life, you’d have to throw out your smartphones, your tablets, stay away from work, avoid all coffee shops, and move to a remote area in the mountains. In other words, the Internet is in our lives to stay.

Why Did I Go Two Summers Without Internet?

I’ve always made a habit of limiting the media in my life. I’ve gone more years without a TV than with a TV. I fought off cell phones until I started traveling across country for job opportunities. I wrestled between cell phones and landlines for several years. I fought off smartphones until just a few years ago.

Now, like most Americans, even most so-called minimalists, I have several digital devices in my home or in my pocket. Still, I can control how much time I spend on those devices, by disconnecting my Internet services. I can also control how much time my 10-year-old daughter spends online. 

Getting Offline Had A Number Of Positive Results

  1. More creative work: The past two summers, I’ve written 40 songs, 60 blog posts, and a book. That’s a lot of creative work. I’m quite certain I wouldn’t have completed half that much if I’d been connected at home.
  2. More home-improvement projects: I know it’s not popular among minimalists, but I’m buying my home. The past two summers, I’ve landscaped the yard and started a garden. I’ve also created an art studio for my daughter in our garage. Next summer, I’m going to paint the house.
  3. More exercise: Going two summers without Internet helped motivate me to get outside and exercise more often. I’ve kept my regular walking routine. I’ve done some hiking, biking, and running. The least two years, I’ve walked more miles in the summer than in any other season.
  4. My daughter had to use her mind: By disconnecting, it forced Annie to use her brain to find things to do. She got creative with art and music. She played outside more often. She had to learn to keep herself busy without movies and video games.

There’s More Results To The Experiment

As much as I’d like to tell you that the positives outweighed the negatives, I’m not sure they did. Going two summers without Internet may have been enough for me. There are a lot of downsides to not having Internet at home.

You might wonder why I didn’t add “save money” to the positive list. I’m not sure I did save any money. In today’s world, we have more needs to use the Internet at home than ever before. I’ve recently switched to online banking. I had to go to a coffee shop every time I needed to pay bills or update my WordPress sites.

Getting Offline Had A Number Of Negative Results

  1. More coffee shops: I spent more time and money at coffee shops. Don’t get me wrong, I love coffee shops, but what’s the point in disconnecting at home if you spend 8 hours a week at Starbucks? Then again, one could do all their online activities at Starbucks if they chose. Another thing about coffee shops: wifi signals are not always dependable. I don’t trust most public signals for major updates or downloads.
  2. Still online: Let’s be honest. Disconnecting my Internet at home didn’t keep me offline. I have an iPhone with a 3GB data plan. I have Internet at work. I have Starbucks. I wasn’t really offline, the Internet was just a little less accessible to me. This lessened the time I spent online, but so would self-discipline. And when I needed a quick connection, I didn’t have one.
  3. Blogging: I schedule blog posts out in advance. Otherwise, this experiment wouldn’t have worked. As Hip Diggs grows and increases in popularity, I don’t see going without an Internet connection at home as a valid option. Two summers without Internet might be enough.
  4. My daughter drove me crazy: Okay, so my daughter was able to keep herself busy without video games and Netflix, but only some of the time. She was often restless and wished she had more to do. When the smoke from the Washington wildfires kept us inside, the Internet would have been nice to have.

Will I Go Another Summer Without Internet?

I don’t have a definitive answer at this time, but I doubt I’ll disconnect next summer. The Internet has become a household need. I pay my bills online. I check my work email online. I blog online. Sure, I could disconnect again next summer and make it work. I’m just not sure I see the point in doing that. If I really wanted to delete the Internet from my life, I’d nearly have to drop out of modern culture as we know it.

What happens next summer is yet to be seen. So until then, keep coming back to Hip Diggs for posts about simple living and a variety of related topics. If you’d like to receive my newsletter, click the link below to sign up:

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4 Comments

  1. I could see doing it to get my ten year old daughter offline but in the end I would be on it at work and my smartphone is all I have for communications as I gave up the landline years ago. I think the harder thing to do is to have it at home and to be disciplined enough to set boundaries for myself and for my daughter. So many distractions….keep up the good work, Dan!

    1. Yes, you’re right, Dirk. The discipline is the hard part. We both have 10-year-old daughters. You can relate. My daughter is just coming off a month without her tablet for not following rules. That was a tough punishment to follow through with. Sometimes it’s easy to let our kids use the media to give ourselves space.

  2. I’m a grandparent who raised her children without Internet, tablets or cell phones. I’m shocked at how young children and even toddlers are left to distract themselves with it. It is very addictive. Would you encourage them to go gamble or go have a smoke? It’s unhealthy for the child. Parents need to raise the bar. This is a chance to be creative.

    1. I agree. It’s not always easy. As a single dad with a full-time job it’s easy to let my daughter have an hour or so a day on her tablet. It gives me a short break. But I do set limits.

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