We live in an overly technological world. A world where we are surrounded by computers. Phones, tablets, and now even your refrigerator are computers. As a Systems Engineer, I am constantly surrounded by technology – some of the tech is, admittedly, self imposed. When needed to unwind, the question becomes: how does a Systems Engineer go on vacation?

Engineers, along with other Information Technology (IT) professionals, will prefer a vacation where there are no wires nor signals. I myself have chosen places based on their lack of connectivity. The self imposed cessation of all things digital is cathartic. The lack of reflexively checking email or other compulsive electronic tasks is healing. As a society, the United States has become overly reliant on the IT gizmos that make us both more efficient and less human when face to face. The remedy should be a vacation.

I prefer the great outdoors. The focusing aspect of hiking, biking, and mountain climbing helps me remove the compulsions to check my technology enabled devices. Sure, the devices are with me, but I use my phone to capture the moment as a camera. Or, I may put on a track of music to help drive me up a trail. My technological devices become enablers of my enjoyment, I am not the servant of their notifications. (Of course, email is not easily accessible if I do happen to want to compulsively check my inbox.)

An unplugged vacation is the challenge of living life. As humans in the twenty-first century, the industrialized world has lost the fear of the randomness of nature. We live in our artificial environments where if our surroundings are too hot or too cold, we simply adjust the thermostat. A bad day in the elements means we stay home and binge on television. Being outside on a short hike or bicycle ride means you get wet when it rains, and hot when the temperature climbs.

This road does not come with an application

The reality of nature is the perfect tonic for those who deal with the virtual. The tempest in a teapot of IT is an easy thing to avoid when you cannot receive bad news. Vacation is the perfect time to put the electronic taskmaster in a box. Everyone needs unplug and enjoy reality. After all, we only have a limited amount of time before we end up in a box for eternity.