Digital Detox: A Three-Step Program

04/02/2015 12:23 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2015
Blend Images - Colin Anderson via Getty Images

I'm the first person to admit that I'm addicted to technology. I'm constantly checking my never-ending inflow of texts, emails, Facebook messages and tweets. But I learned a couple of things during my amazing safari in South Africa -- and not just about rhinoceroses!

The Internet isn't readily accessible in the veld, and at first I went through a certain amount of digital withdrawal. Without my cellphones (Yes, I have two!) I felt a little lost and disconnected from the things that mattered. But eventually I connected with the things that really mattered. I highly recommend a digital detox. Here's what I realized during mine:

  1. Use this time for reflection, not panic. Think about what's important and why being disconnected from technology freaks you out. How often do you allow yourself time to just sit and think? If you're like me, you will appreciate turning devices off from time to time--it will set you free from electronic overload. And you don't have to travel to the other side of the world to do it!
  2. Take advantage of the opportunity to experience something new. When you shut off the constant buzzing of your mobile device you allow fresh opportunities to appear. I met all sorts of amazing new people whom I would never have encountered if I'd been focused on my phone. I talked with the locals in every town we visited and learned about some of their crafts (like pottery), how they lived, and I even picked up some new recipes. If I'd had an Internet connection I would have spent that time working--and what a shame that would have been!
  3. Connect the old-fashioned way. Bonding with the people I was traveling with (my family and good friends) really enriched our relationships. We were in pretty tight quarters a lot of the time so we had no choice but to communicate and get to know one another. Stultifying moments of silence were replaced by teasing, lots of deep conversation, and fun. We were sad to leave our new friends and family in South Africa. My children can't wait to go back to visit, and neither can I!