I used to tell my co-workers that I would be checking e-mails while I was away on vacation, and I did, several times a day. I would also work on this blog and post articles on Hootsuite to be put on Twitter at night after my wife went to sleep. It didn't really bother me that much because it didn't take much time away from our vacation, and most of what I did was late at night when I was the only one up anyway. Two years ago I finally stopped doing that, and I have the motel we often stay at when we're on vacation.
We used to go to Panama City Beach for vacation, and we often stayed at the same motel. We had not been there for a few years until deciding to return two years ago. Reservations were made at the same motel. It wasn't until we were in our room that I realized that this place didn't offer free wi-fi. I was not a happy camper! They charged about $25.00 a week for a wi-fi connection. I'm too cheap to pay for something that the vast majority of places offer for free so I had to go the entire week with no Internet connection. By the end of the week I realized I enjoyed not being able to connect to the Internet. I still had e-mail and texting capabilities on my I-Phone so we could stay in contact with our children, but I couldn't work. The one time I wanted to check something on Google for our personal information, I simply went across the street and parked in McDonald's parking lot while I got the info we needed off their wi-fi.
For too many years as a young pastor I thought I had to be available to our congregation even when I was on vacation. How arrogant is that? None of us are that important. Do we really think our churches can't get along without us? I guess I did at one time, but I got over it when I realized the cemeteries are full of indispensable people. If you think the world can't get along with you, just die and see if the world stops. Along the same line, what crisis do you think will occur if you don't respond to an e-mail or check your Facebook account while you're on vacation? Chances are...none.
On my Twitter feed today I have an article by Michael Hyatt on how he unplugs while he's on vacation. You can read it here. I like most of what he suggests. The one thing I do differently is that I don't leave phone and e-mail messages telling people I'm away for a week or two nor do I publish that on Facebook or other social media. I don't post pictures of the things I'm doing on vacation until I get back. No sense in telling some people that your house is empty for a few days. I do agree with his recommendations that we unplug while we're away so we can recharge and enjoy our time away.
I hope you are planning some time away this year for yourself and your family. You need that time, and so do they. Even more, my prayer is that when you go away you get away. No work. No Internet. Just take time to breathe and enjoy life and your family.