One of the things that worried us most about taking the workamping gig at Amazon’s distribution center in Kansas was their strict no cell phone policy. That would mean for 12 hours a day for a month, we would have no contact with the outside world – a very weird concept for us digital nomads. Afterall, we generally chose our camping spots based on where we can boost up the best signal so that we can remain connected digitally to our friends, family, colleagues, clients and news of the world.
Working 12 hour days at Amazon’s distribution center over the past month has forced us into a digital fast.
And it was good.
The first couple of days we’d spend every last second in the parking lot with our iPhones, soaking up as much bandwidth as we could. We’d both grimace as we turned them off and put them in the center console to enter the gigantic warehouse. And then we’d rush out as quickly as possible after our shift was over, checking e-mail even before we’d start the windshield defrosting the ice that had accumulated overnight. And as soon as we got home to our campsite, we’d both be online trying to catch up with the world.
An interesting thing happened about 2 weeks into our gig – the iPhones would stay in the center console until we almost got home. And we’d both hop online just long enough to answer e-mails from loved ones and make an occasional twitter update or blog post. Our reliance on staying connected had been broken.
At the end of the gig, when we could resume our normal constant access to the digital world – I found myself more centered on the reality in front of me. Dinner with friends was not interrupted by my constant urge to check e-mail, Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t get the disconnected twitch, and I was more engaged with the awesome people in front of me. The iPhone stayed tucked away until it was actually needed to check weather forecasts and routing directions to our next destination.
From this perspective, our time at Amazon could be compared to going to a digital addicts rehab center or a mediation center – and getting paid to have treatment!
We wish all our followers the very best this holiday season … and urge you click the close button above and divert your attention to things more precious right in front of you. After all, there’s no prize for the most amount of bandwidth consumed. The only true reward in life is the quality of experience you create for yourself.