Today’s User Input reminded me of a conversation I had last week with a couple coworkers. One of them, we’ll call him Mr. Pink, is notorious for being a workaholic. He’s even schedule vacations so he can combine them with work trips, much to his wife’s chagrin. Next week, however, he is going to a remote cabin in “northern” Ontario where he will not have cell signal. In fact, he said the last time he will have cell signal is in Sault Ste. Marie. He’s not sure how he will handle it.

A few weekends ago while camping in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula there were many times when we were without cell signal. I found it liberating. I was disconnected from the outside world. I was disconnected from responsibilities and all the things in our always-connected world that distract us from the now. I could look out the windshield and enjoy the moment without distraction. Frankly, I loved it. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy those quiet moments in the loo trying to beat the next level of Candy Crush Saga, but I need to make a point of just turning off the phone from time to time. Just to remind myself there is a whole world out there, and not just in my little black box.

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  • Thanks for reminding me; I'll be out on the deck.

  • "…just turning off the phone from time to time."

    As I suspected, the problem stems from having phones with power switches.

  • Number_Six

    Still unsure as to why someone from Michigan is making fun of Ontario for being "north".

    • It has nothing to do with the position of Ontario in relation to Michigan, but with the place he's going being more "central Ontario" but everyone, apparently, refers to it as "northern Ontario".

      Besides, Windsor is south of Detroit. It is, in fact, South Detroit.

      • Number_Six

        Truly "northern" Ontario is like the clitoris: men know it's there but they don't give a crap…

      • The University of Northern British Columbia is in Prince George, BC. Where's Prince George? As a hint, don't bother looking in the northern half of the province:

        <img src="; width="450">

        • Deartháir

          That was the school I attended; while it seems a bit of a misnomer, the politics of the area come into it. Prince George is the economic centre of everywhere north of Kamloops, and is the metropolitan centre that feeds all the smaller communities. It is also the "hub" campus for all the satellite campuses they have, with locations in Prince Rupert, Smithers, MacKenzie, Fort Nelson and even Whitehorse. If you draw a line across the province just north of Kamloops, as most residents subconsciously do, and think of the northern half as a separate province with PG as the capitol, it makes a lot more sense.

          • I figured it was something like that. I've never been farther north than North Vancouver, myself, although I suspect that places me on par with a lot of the people who live in BC.

  • cruisintime

    So are resourcing material for the feature on the "ELF" submarine communication network ?
    Rumored to be in the Upper Peninsula?

  • Reminds me of my parents lake house. While it does have cell phone coverage and some 3G coverage, with limited data plans it is easy to staff offline.

    When my grandfather bought the property he wanted a place to get away from the phone, he never had a phone installed. This was the 1970s, way before cell phones.

    • Honey Bunny's summer house is on an island with no electricity. Close to shore, it had okay radio reception so you could listen to the traffic reports and laugh until the batteries went dead. Eventually it got cell coverage, but there was nowhere to charge your phone until solar power became popular.

  • where I'm from, we may have a cell signal at my house but all i have to do is walk down in the holler a few hundred yards and its dead.

  • For several years, I took a guys' trip to Quetico. One of many great things about it was the lack of modern conveniences, particularly phones. The last year I went, we went so deep into the heart of the park that we didn't see another party for two days. There, perhaps 40 miles from the nearest tower, my canoe partner decided to fire up his Verizon phone. Damned if he didn't get a signal. It kind of spoiled the moment for me.

    • FЯeeMan

      +1 for Verizon coverage!
      -100 for spoiling nature.

    • Vairship

      Easy way to fix that: dump him AND his phone in the water. 😉

  • SSurfer321

    Heading down to my Mom's this weekend in LaFollette, TN. Log home, on the lake, back in the mountains. No cell coverage unless you have Verizon (which I don't). I love getting down there and disconnecting.