What would you do with one day offline? This questioned lingered in our minds from the moment we were told about this amazing opportunity. We were contacted by Cathay Pacific Airways and Mashable who offered us the opportunity to experiment with the frightening task of leaving the internet world behind for a day to really enjoy life without electronics. Gladly, we survived our one day offline to tell you all about it.
At first the thought of text-less days, and Snapchat-less nights worried us. Out in the world without showing and telling others our every move? Blasphemy! We decided it was worth the risk and jumped on a flight to New York.
We didn’t know much about the trip, all we knew is we would be somewhere in Upstate New York, without our precious phones, laptops, and tablets.
We had never visited New York. Layovers at JFK don’t count. We had always said, being from a big city like Los Angeles, we love seeing something different, and the urge to visit New York City never appealed to us. But Upstate New York, that is a different story. Aside from a few movies like The Horse Whisperer and My Idiot Brother, the New York countryside was all new to us.
We really felt like city folk when we couldn’t stop saying how green the grass was, and nonstop ohhs and ahhs of seeing the red, brown and yellow leaf-covered trees that lined the roads. We heard rumors of the cold, snowy, fall and winter in New York and packed accordingly. Surprise, surprise, its was a beautiful 60-70 degrees the entire time. In Los Angeles, we only know its fall when the kids are back in school and Starbucks announces the Pumpkin Spice Latte. The weather doesn’t change at all. Matter-of-fact, as we type this it is the end of October and 92 degrees outside.
The 2 hour shuttle ride from JFK out into the countryside flew by and we jumped off in excitement with childlike wonder at seeing this wonderful farm house that would be our home for the next few days.
The Farmhouse at Route 66, where we were hosted, fed and entertained was a fully restored farmhouse built in the 1700s. The owner and founder Marybeth Boruta who’s countryside hospitality is one of a kind, took care of us like we were family. With the original wood work and painted floors, mountain views, a large swimming pool, six bedrooms and 3 baths divided between two separate sides of the house, we were in country heaven.
We found our room, which was cutely decorated with our names on the doors along with little gold stars. Gold stars just for showing up? We are liking this already! A welcome note was on the bed, along with towels, toiletries, and some goodies.
After the note there was a detailed schedule of what the next few days held in store for us. We settled in and went down to grab a bite to eat with a few other bloggers who had come along too, as well as some of the Mashable crew. We had some free time to get cleaned up (and get our last tweets, status updates, and texts replied to) and head to dinner.
Inside a barn on the property was where dinner awaited us. Delicious food, beautiful decor, and space heaters! (Yes, it cooled down at night quiet a bit!) After a hearty meal with the other bloggers and crew, we all turned in for the night. Some people were from the UK and even Australia, needless to say we were all in need of some sleep.
The next morning we reluctantly turned off our phone and gadgets and turned them over. (Real tears were shed!)
With all of the excitement and our internal alarm clocks still being stuck on Pacific Standard Time, both of us were up that morning before roosters could even crow, ready to tackle our first activity. At 8am we gathered in the barn for some yoga to relax our minds and bodies, which were still going through techy-withdrawl.
Shannon decided to do yoga in jeans…chaffing wasn’t an issue. The women, and some of the men were prepared. Yoga pants are ALWAYS a good idea!
The next part of our day was jumping on a big yellow school bus and heading out for apple picking, hayrides, games, fishing, hiking and a picnic.
We finally found a few (like 40) apples and ate them as we frolicked through the the orchard. We even tried to get a horse to eat an apple off of someone’s head. There may or may not have been an apple-french-kiss with a horse as well.
Turns out we weren’t the only ones with apples on our agenda. The worms had found their good share and it was harder to find a worm-free apple than we thought.
After the apple picking we had a picnic overlooking the Hudson River and the Catskills. Everyone agreed that we seemed to be living in a postcard.
We even made fresh cider out of our freshly picked apples.
After lunch we all went off and did whatever our hearts desired. Fishing, hiking, corn hole, baseball, volleyball and even blowing bubbles.
After a long day of playing with real people in real life instead of texting and games on a tablet, we were exhausted.
IT FELT GREAT.
We all gathered for a group shot. The bloggers, Mashable crew and Cathay Pacific staff had formed a bond. Which is what happens when you live life, be present and put down your device and connect with those around you.
We headed back to our farmhouse to clean up because the night was far from over.
Its funny the things you find you have time for, enjoy and laugh about when you can let go of the technology and the need for likes and comments and validation we all seek. We had a ball dancing the night away and eventually settled down behind the barn to talk. Talk to the people we had just met a few days before. Talk in person, with no distractions and nothing else on our minds.
A surprise for us was lighting lanterns. We always imagined doing it someday but it was such a fun experience. As long as you do it right (try not to light the person standing next to you on fire) it is amazing. We all wrote wishes on our lanterns and watched the float up into the sky. To celebrate we lit sparklers and twirled in the flying sparks, living in the moment.
After a bit we gathered around the bonfire to roast s’mores. It was many people’s first time, and there were debates on the best technique and the “right” way to roast a marshmallow.
We made some great friends, and spending our one day offline really drew us close pretty quickly. We all intend to stay in touch and were asking Mashable and Cathay Pacific for a reunion trip next year.
Being offline is hard. With our blog, social media, e-mail, texting and phone calls, it may seem impossible. It is not. It is refreshing. Turning our phones back on was exciting but at the same time a weight on our shoulders. Floods of messages came through and we were back to real life.
We believe in life well traveled. This often means looking up at the person you are spending your precious time with, taking in the sights and sounds around you. It means taking a photo to preserve a memory instead of how good it will look on Instagram or how many likes it will get.