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Taking the plunge – embracing my own technology detox

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PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – Before I left for my weeklong vacation last month, I told myself I was going to completely unplug during my time away.

The idea was to leave technology behind, unwind and take time to have fun with family in a beautiful location.

Having returned on Saturday, I can say I was pleased with my ability to remain largely technology-free for a week.

My family and I traveled to Punta Cana, a vacation hotspot in the Dominican Republic. Although I packed my flip flops, shorts and dresses, I made the conscious effort to leave my cellphone and laptop behind.

In my line of work, we are constantly wired and connected to what's going on. We have to be. But even when I'm not on the clock, I am still plugged in 24/7. In my car, I have news radio on so I'm up to the minute on developments. During my lunch break, I watch CNN at home so I know what's going on.

Every night, I watch the 10 o'clock news to find out what's happening locally and beyond. It's a curse and blessing of being a journalist. We know what's happening in our community and beyond, but we have an insatiable appetite for developments around the clock.

My decision not to bring my phone or laptop was part of my plan to unplug. I knew if I had them with me I would be tempted to log in and get my technology fix.

In our hotel room, my sisters and I kept the television off almost the entire trip. I didn't want to be inundated with countless stories while away. Vacation is supposed to be a time to step away and escape from day-to-day routine.

That's just what I did. An absence of technology left me with time to take a walk along the beach, lounge by the water and get a good deal of leisure reading done.

For the most part, I was able to stay away from technology. I'll admit, I did log in to my email account in our hotel lobby on my mom's iPad. It was for a few minutes as we had some downtime.

During the trip, my sister told me she read about hotels that are offering packages and plans to help visitors unplug. I realized I was not the only one who recognized this was a problem in our society.

According to a CNN.com article, a company that hosts yoga retreats in Mexico and Costa Rica decided to offer a 15 percent discount as an incentive for anyone willing to give up their cellphone.

In a day and age where people are more and more dependent upon their cellular and portable devices, I knew it would be hard to go a week without them on me. I am very glad I did.

When I look back at the vacation, I'll remember many happy memories. I'll also remember time I had to simply reflect, think and process, all without the interference of technology.

Sauk Valley Media reporter Kiran Sood covers government and happenings in Sterling and Rock Falls. She can be reached at ksood@saukvalley.com or at 800-798-4085, ext. 529.

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