Unplugged on Vacation: Is it for you?

I’ve been away from my blog for a few weeks because I was traveling.  My travel included a self-imposed digitally restricted VACATION in Mexico. No email, no Web, and no unnecessary phone calls back to the states. Although it felt VERY odd, the break was healthy. I missed the Internet most. I was traveling in rural Mexico and there were several times when I would have loved to “look up” something on the Internet.

I could have easily stopped into an Internet café in Valladolid on our way to Chichen Itza.

Or accessed the wireless at the Posado el Moro in Puerto Morelos where we stayed. (great place!)

I could have browsed the web while munching a taco lunch at Trini’s.

But, I wanted to stick to my low noise vacation. I wanted to see how things would turn out sans Web.

Instead I relied on talking to people! Finding and reading printed books and pamphlets! Oh, and using (not very successfully) printed maps! Sure it would have been nice to have my iPhone data roaming turned on so I could access Google Maps when we got REALLY lost after taking a wrong turn, ending up in the city of Cancun (UGH!) on a Saturday night –really big cosmopolitan mayhem—but we eventually made it back to the sleepy little fishing village of  Pto. Morelos the old fashioned way–a tourist map, a flashlight, asking for directions at a gas station, following more advice from a kid in a McDonald’s parking lot, and finally getting yet another set of directions from a street vendor at a tennis court. It took long, but, heck, it was an adventure.

So, I learned that I could still be successful with or without the help of digital technologies, (That is a relief to know! Hahaha.) and it made me more aware of how people in Mexico, and specifically Puerto Morelos, live their lives plugged and unplugged.

Plugged.  An old (by U.S. standards) video game stored (hidden) under an ad banner on the front porch of their house, entertained these boys for hours every evening.

Unplugged.  While these children amused themselves and made a little pocket change by strolling among the restaurants entertaining diners with Christmas songs. No TEXTING! No iPods.

Plugged. The daughter of our innkeeper worked with a friend on a high school research paper for hours one Sunday afternoon using their computer at the kitchen table.  Still, they used paper and pencils for writing.

Unplugged. We watched from our balcony as a thatch roof was being built by hand on the house next door.

Unplugged. We enjoyed un-amplified music during Sunday comida.

Unplugged. And, a parade of children and parents, together, celebrating the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Virgin of Guadalupe) entertained the town one Saturday afternoon.

The only caveat to my digital free vacation came when we realized that Pto. Morelos doesn’t have a bank.  So, we had to use digital cash machines. Unfortunately one we accessed malfunctioned and forced my travel companion to an Internet café to check his bank account via the net. Though he speaks Spanish, using a Spanish keyboard to navigate and write an email in English was awkward and took some time getting used to it.  All the same it gave us some peace of mind that the issue was going to be resolved and he needed the Net to get it done!

So, what do you think about going unplugged on a vacation? Have you done it?

It only took me about six hours to get through my most important emails when I returned to the states! Was it worth it? It was worth it.

If you love to eat fresh fish, tortilla’s, beer and enjoy bright white, sparsely populated beaches, go to Puerto Morelos. If you want to snorkel or fish an amazing reef with the most beautiful coral anywhere, go to Puerto Morelos. Recommended dining: Cucina Economica – incredible home made meals for a few pesos; Trini – nice location on the square (Internet connection optional); Pelicanos – a view that you won’t find just anywhere and try the whole deep fried fish it’s amazing. Off the main road look for Petita – the local’s secret – this is a funky, fabulous little spot with a sand floor, pleasant people, cold drinks and the best fish and fresh caught lobster anywhere! That’s living!

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