The Dark Ages or the Age of Enlightenment: Five Weeks Without TV and Internet

vina-del-mar-sunset

Those of you who have been following us for a while know that for the last three months we’ve been in the midst of a huge move overseas.  As part of a military permanent change of station, or PCS, we have been reassigned from a stateside base in Texas to a Royal Air Force base in the UK.  Here’s a quick timeline to refresh your memory and get our new readers up to speed.

  • July 13 – July 15: Packed and shipped household goods from Texas house
  • July 19 – Aug 3: Visited Chile and family in Florida
  • Aug 3 – Aug 9: Camped out in empty Texas house
  • Aug 10 – Aug 15: Stayed with family in Texas
  • Aug 15 – Aug 16: Departed Texas and arrived in the UK
  • Aug 16 – Sep 4: Stayed in temporary base lodging
  • Sep 5: Moved into UK house
  • Sep 8: Received household goods at UK house
  • Oct 11: Reconnected to the world (internet service turned on)

So yeah, if it wasn’t already apparent, you could say the last few months have been a bit hectic.

Now that we’re pretty much settled in, I want to take a look back at the last five to six weeks, from the time we moved out of temporary base lodging until now.  During this time, we were pretty much disconnected from the world with no TV or home internet access.  Sure, we had data on our phones, but anyone who has been to rural UK knows that service can be spotty at best.  Was this time the Dark Ages or the Age of Enlightenment?

Dark Ages

Okay, let’s not beat around the bush.  Not having reliable, consistent internet access sucked.  There, I said it.  I know, first world problems, at least we had electricity and running water, etc.  Quit being such a pansy, DTG.

You know what, maybe I have gotten spoiled.  Maybe we all have.  We’ve become accustomed to having all the information in the world at our fingertips and we like it.  We crave it.  What if something happened and we didn’t hear about it?  What if Kim Kardashian got robbed at gunpoint in Paris without me finding out?  Oh, the horror.

In all seriousness, not having reliable internet access did make some seemingly simple tasks more difficult.  There were several times I wanted to send an email with an attached file from my laptop.  Other times, we just wanted to research restaurants in a town we were about to visit.  Not so easy without internet.

Let’s not even mention trying to maintain a blog.  Just as we were beginning to grow a decent following, we lost connectivity and our readership has been dwindling the last six weeks.  That’s okay, we’ll keep sharing our thoughts, hopefully on a more regular basis, either way.  With this, I’m confident our readers will return, along with a few new ones.

In the end, we survived.  And maybe it wasn’t that bad after all.

Age of Enlightenment

As much as it did suck to not have internet, we really did not miss TV one bit.  Well, that’s a lie.  We missed the last month of Big Brother.  Yes, we’ll fess up.  We are suckers for a few reality TV shows, namely Big Brother, Survivor, The Amazing Race, and Master Chef.

And, we’ve missed the first half of the college football season.  Actually my wife and kids couldn’t care less, this is all me.  I’m mainly interested in one game per week, whichever one my school is playing.  At least I’ve managed to listen to intermittent online radio broadcasts of every game, but one.  These midnight start times are brutal, though.

But wait, this section is the age of enlightenment so why am I still here whining?  If missing a few reality shows and college football games, while having to make a little effort to find information is the worst of our problems, then we’re doing better than a lot of people in this world.

Besides, there have been several huge pluses to not having TV and internet.

First, I’ve been reading more.  We’ve become regular visitors to the base library.  This is partially a continuation of a habit started earlier this year and partially an outlet to quench our thirst for information.  If anyone is interested in military/aviation history, Skunk Works is a great read (not an affiliate link).

Next, the kids have been doing more of something kids should be doing anyway.  They’ve been playing outside at one of the several parks in our neighborhood.  Imagine that, you take away electronics and kids actually want to play outside.  They’ve gotten to enjoy what will probably be the last bits of good weather (and daylight) that we’ll have for a while.  This is something we’ll need to keep up, even when sometimes it’s easier to put on a movie or let them play video games.

Last, and probably most important for our health, we’ve been going to bed a lot earlier.  Without easy access to useless information, there have been fewer distractions keeping us from our much needed daily rest.  I’ve already noticed our bed times creeping back up the last three nights since we’ve been reconnected.  We may need a self-imposed ban on cell phones after a certain time, say 9:30 or 10:00 pm.

The Verdict

Although we did get a little restless towards the end, I guess being disconnected wasn’t all that bad.  We really have been completely insulated from all the craziness that has been going on in the US, from the presidential election to floods, hurricanes, and protests.  As far as we know, all is well in the world.

If we had to choose again to go without TV or internet, it would be TV hands down.  The internet has become such an integral part of our lives that it is tough to quickly and efficiently accomplish anything without it.

To continue our metaphor, we got a taste of both the Dark Ages and the Age of Enlightenment over the last month and a half.  This experience is sure to influence our thought processes as we continue shaping our new lifestyle.  Moving forward, we could easily do without TV, but internet access has become almost a necessity.

The photo up top is of the sun beginning to set over the Pacific Ocean in Viña Del Mar, Chile.  Although it appears to be in black and white, the image is completely unedited.  To read more about our Chilean vacation, please check out our new Travel page which we’ll begin updating on a regular basis as we begin exploring the UK and other parts of Europe.  

9 thoughts on “The Dark Ages or the Age of Enlightenment: Five Weeks Without TV and Internet

  1. TJ says:

    One thing i’ve enjoyed in recent years about traveling abroad is not having the easy access to internet at my fingertips via mobile data. But It was always a very organized experience so I had no real chance of getting lost or whatever. If that was a possibility, I certainly would prefer having that internet just in case. 🙂

    We got rid of TV back in early March and I don’t really notice. I guess I notice that I hang out on the internet a bit more, but at least that is more productive than chillaxing on the couch..

    Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Yeah, for sure about TV. We’d been thinking about canceling DirecTV back in the states for a while.

      I don’t mind having intermittent Internet access for a few days, but when it becomes weeks on end and begins interfering with daily activities, it starts getting annoying.

      Like

  2. Graham @ Reverse The Crush says:

    Hey DTG,
    Thanks for sharing your dark ages story. I feel your pain. I would be totally lost without internet connectivity and would be wining a lot worse than you haha. Anyways, I’m sure your readers will come back. They will understand. Also, I noticed you have over 1200 subscribers. Thats amazing! If you don’t mind me asking, how long did it take you to grow that list? Any tips? Thanks 🙂

    Like

  3. Gwen @ Fiery Millennials says:

    After we left London, we went to the Isle of Wight for 3 days. The cottage we were staying in didn’t have internet, AND my phone had no reception inside. Everytime I went outside, my phone would buzz like crazy for a solid 30 seconds. I hear you about the blog thing. My views per day tanked while I was overseas. I am super glad we got to hang out while I was there though!

    Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      It was great hanging out with you, too! I know what you mean about your cell phone buzzing like crazy when you finally get signal. Sometimes my phone will do that and I’ll get like seven texts all at once that my wife had sent me two days earlier!!

      The drop in page views definitely shows the importance of posting regularly. I keep talking about it, but it has been a real challenge for me to get in a consistent writing routine since I stopped working. Maybe I’m enjoying my freedom too much. Nah!

      Like

    • Ditching the Grind says:

      Everything is going well. The biggest challenge, as I mentioned in the comment above, is getting into a new routine. And not just writing, but exercising, prepping meals, everything. Every time we get settled, something comes up. We just found out our daughter was admitted to a British school. Once she starts, I’ll have a lot more flexibility to begin working on some projects and other things I have brewing.

      Liked by 1 person

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