Get paid $1,000 to “digitally detox” in an RV. Is this what RVing is about?

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digitally detox

By Emily Woodbury
A new contest by SatelliteInternet.com that you may have seen floating around the web on popular pop-culture sites such as Thrillist, Buzzfeed, Travel + Leisure, and many more, that wants to pay you $1,000 to “digitally detox” in an RV for 48-hours. “Digitally detox?” Sure, for some, that might feel like a necessary relief these days, when screens and advertisements and videos are plastered and playing around us 15-hours a day… but is that really what RVing is all about?

I’m a millennial (I know, I know, hold your judgments), and I know that most of my peers still envision RVing as a remote, leisurely way to travel. The hashtag #vanlife has dominated social media sites like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, and people are converting vans, old ambulances, school buses, trucks, etc. into RVs. Do I want one? Yes, absolutely, but we don’t need to discuss that now. Wink.

The idea of camping, or RVing, appeals to my generation because we’ve grown up with screens surrounding us our entire lives. I didn’t get a cell phone until I was 13, but now kids are getting their own tablets at age 5, and phones at age 8. Of course the idea of a “digital detox” sounds appealing, how could it not? But is it, or should it be, necessary?

The vision of RVing hasn’t changed: a lone-road, a starlit evening, coyotes howling, a fire crackling… We know this isn’t how it is anymore, so why does this fantasy still exist?

You know the reality well by now: crowded campgrounds, reservations a year in advance, lines for hours to get into National Parks, fire-bans, neighbors with loud outdoor TVs and LED lights blocking out any bits of the beautiful Milky Way. Stars? What stars? Marshmallows? Nah, haven’t had one of those in a while…

If you’re a full-timer, a “digital detox” might seem like a “digital-load-of-crap” to you. This is your life and your home, so you’d “detox” the same way anyone else would. Maybe you put your phone and/or tablet away after dinner, maybe you don’t look at your phone until 10am after you’ve had your morning coffee… whatever it is, we all find ways to “digitally detox” differently.

This contest, though I’ll admit it does have the best intentions (and I do mean that), misses the point. Are we so addicted to technology that we need to “digitally detox?” Is RVing being used as a pathetic excuse for a time when we shouldn’t use our cell phones and computers?

No. 48 hours to “digitally detox” is going to be about as successful as a diet. You’ll do it for a couple of days (not even a week…), feel fantastic, then eventually go back to your old ways. It’s not about that. Digitally detoxing should be a part of a daily routine, er, a lifestyle change, should we say…

Go for a hike and only take your phone out for photos, go for a bike road and put your phone in your backpack, go sit out at night and find a place to look at the stars (even if you have to drive away from your neighbor’s outdoor LED lights) and put your phone away… Be present. Breathe. Listen to the sounds. Try and identify five smells. But heck, if you’re on a hike and wonder what kind of berry you found, take your phone out and identify it. If you get lost on your bike ride, let Google Maps guide you back. And if you’re looking at stars and wonder what constellation that is, let that neat app on your phone tell you. Technology is cool, there’s no denying that.

For some, there are times to “digitally detox,” but if you have enough self-control to put your phone away when you don’t need it, a detox won’t ever be necessary. Everything in moderation, as they say…

If you want to enter the contest or read more about it, you can do so here.

##RVT963

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John T
27 days ago

This contest does NOT have the best intentions. It’s merely a method of collecting tens of thousands of email addresses that will then be subjected to junk mail advertising their products. For the $1000 they give to the “lucky winner”, they will have acquired an extensive email list. It’s no different from the Facebook posts that claim to be giving away a motorhome.

In the Woods
27 days ago

I love technology, yet adhere to the thought: All things in moderation. My laptops, cell phones, and satellite TV have placed our beautiful world in my fingers, and it’s downright amazing. I’m so thrilled to be living in this time and place. But I haven’t forsaken the world at my door — the paths, stars, fireside evenings, and even howling coyotes are mine, too.
Reality closing in? Boss from Hades? Social media overwhelming? Society too toxic? Start with changing your mind, changing your life, changing your friends. Head outside, relax, breathe. It may not be as perfect as the brochure… But it sure comes close. Seek and you will find!

Dave Helgeson
28 days ago

Just returned from a two week trip boondocking throughout the Blue Mountains of Oregon enjoying “lone-roads, a starlit evenings, coyotes howling (just two of the nights), a fire crackling (well due to fire restrictions it was a Campfire in a Can that made more of a hiss than a crackle!)” Being that there was no cell service available at some of our campsites being connected to our screens wan’t an option. No reservations, no campground fees and just our friends as neighbors!

Ron T
28 days ago

I agree that it’s all about self-control and I’m lucky enough to have a more than fair share of it. But I don’t judge others on their lack thereof. I’ve had cell phones almost since the day they first appeared though until retirement they were employer owned. Before that we used Motorola two-way hand-helds.

Wolfe
28 days ago

I had a similar thought when I first saw this competition… it’s not the tech but how WE use it, and/or allow it to be used. As Emily noted, GPS tech and convenient (surprisingly GOOD) cameras on phones and being able to look up queries on nature (not your corporate email) are all benevolent to “RVing”…

More than the tech itself, I see the problem being the degradation in society, and tech just being the delivery method. Facebook can be great to see friends’ lives, but then we get sucked into HAVING to respond to “that socialist idjit” and the know-it-all who can’t use his oscilloscope correctly and the guy who wants people beaten for not wearing masks in their own basement. SOCIETY is toxic now, not tech. Don’t engage!

Then there is the culture of constant contact. If I don’t check my email, I feel like I’ll be fired (I doubt it). If I take away my kids’ phones, they don’t know WHAT to do if they can’t instagram their breakfast RIGHT NOW. Just unplug yourself!

Steve
28 days ago

I got my first cell phone of any kind at age 71 and my grandson just got his first cell for his 13th birthday. Why do young people feel the need to be connected electronically 24/7? I just don’t get it.