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Challenge: Traveling with Kids

How throttled phone data kept me sane and connected my family

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I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear! Ask anyone who knows me well and they would probably tell you that throttled data would be a nightmare come true for someone like me! I work online, so in all honestly, if my phone data is throttled while I’m away from my laptop – nothing gets done. Nothing. I can’t post on my blog. I can’t upload videos to YouTube. I can’t post on any social channels – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. I can’t edit videos because my videos won’t load into my editing software. I can’t answer emails. I can’t download images. It truly just throws everything off for the work side of me.

And so – when my phone data was throttled from overuse during the holidays recently on a family trip to NYC, I was a little (well) horrified. I realized it the second we were driving to NYC from Rhode Island. I couldn’t get online and my husband said the words I hate to hear, “I bet the data is throttled right now.” And it was. And I knew I still had a solid week before it would be better. Not only was MY phone’s data throttled, but my 4 sons and my husband’s was too. That’s right – the boys couldn’t be on social media and they couldn’t (which was horrifying for them) play Fortnite on the 3 hour drive.

A weekend in NYC with no phones, so essentially a technology free weekend.

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I didn’t realize just how much we all needed it.

We live in a technology world. It’s pretty amazing to stop and think what incredible things we can do on our phones. On these tiny little gadgets we can book a reservation at a restaurant. We can book a car service to bring us from point A to point B. We can track our family and friends. We can see the wait time for a ride or an experience. We can purchase tickets on the go. We can connect with thousands of people and watch people do things LIVE from miles and miles and miles away. We can do so much right from our phones, but sometimes it’s really important to just tune it out.

It was pretty amazing walking around NYC with each other and not having anyone’s nose down, typing away. We went to visit the iconic Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree at 11:30 p.m. the first night we were there. We experienced it together. Everyone around us was posting immediately on Facebook or Instagram. People were doing LIVE feeds right from the tree and it was crazy to be there looking at everyone chronicling the experience rather than actually taking it in. Believe me – we took photos and videos of the kids while we were there, this is footage that we want to keep forever and remember the trip we took as a family in December of 2018… but that was it. There wasn’t anything else and it was really awesome.

We went through Central Park without anyone playing Pokemon Go!

We went through our old neighborhood where we lived for 3 years without anyone posting a quick pick to Facebook!

We ate at some of our fave spots and didn’t Instagram story anything.

As much as we all say that being offline is good for the soul, not many of us actually do it. And there’s so many reasons for it. I’m someone who really can’t just ditch social media for a week because it’s part of my job. When the data got throttled on our family trip it was AMAZING! I couldn’t be on… that was it. I had to be present because I was able to be present! I was able to laugh and joke the entire time with my kids! When my daughter (who is 5 years old) started to get antsy, I couldn’t pull out my phone to have her watch videos. And guess what? She got through it! I’m always so quick to toss a phone in her hands when she get antsy, but this time? I couldn’t.

Having my data throttled LITERALLY kept my SANE.

This wasn’t about work. This was about us. This wasn’t about anyone else. This was about us. This wasn’t about anything other than bringing my family to NYC and enjoying the sounds and sights and energy around us.

It was perfect.

I never would’ve thought that throttled data would keep me sane, but you know what – it did. Next time you’re away with your family, if you’re someone who likes to be socially connected – put it down. I know not everyone is like this, and that’s great! My sister can go away and not even bring her phone! I’m not like that, nor are a ton of my friends. But the next time you’re out to dinner with your kids or away on vacation… put the technology down. Talk. Laugh. Listen. Joke.

Your family deserves it and so do you.

Throttle AWAY!!!!!!

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