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July 07, 2009
A Break From Technology
Six friends and I spent last weekend rafting the Salmon River in central Idaho. This was the third year in a row I've spent the 4th of July at least 50 miles from the closest fireworks display. I love the whitewater, the white sandy beaches, and the time spent with good friends. I also enjoy (probably too much) the time spent away from my cell phone.

My Blackberry is my lifeline to my businesses. In truth, it has allowed me to worry less about leaving the office for any length of time, as I can always access my e-mail, my office voicemail, etc. From a technological standpoint, it really has liberated me from my office chair. (Although I still spend far too much time in the office.)

Cell phones don't work in this part of Idaho. If you need medical attention while on the river, you need a good first aid kit and a competent caretaker. If that won't suffice, it's a long float out to the nearest medical clinic. This part of the Salmon River is isolated and beautiful. When I told one friend I was going to be inaccessible for several days, he expressed disbelief there was anywhere in the U.S. that was so desolate you couldn't get at least a couple bars on the ol' cell phone.

As we prepared to launch our rafts last Friday, it felt strange locking the cell phone in the car. Think about how many times in the last year you've parted with your cell phone for more than a couple hours: I was leaving mine behind for four days. I was slightly anxious about doing so, but then remembered mankind somehow miraculously managed to survive without cell phones for all but about the last 15 years of civilization. I figured I could manage.

Technology is wonderful. Yes, it has made my life much easier over the last 10-15 years. But it also serves as a tether, never quite allowing you to truly 'get away from it all.' When we arrived at our car yesterday afternoon, I had 48 e-mails and 7 voicemails waiting for me. I spent at least two hours on the drive home reading and responding to e-mails, making a few calls in between.

As with all things in life, ya gotta pay to play. This morning, I'm still trying to catch up. I probably won't get it all done today, but I'll dig out eventually. We made a lot of memories on that trip, and the break from the 'real world' was a refreshing change of pace. If a few days of scrambling to catch back up is the price to pay, just let me know where to send the check.

Make it a great week.


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