That time I…went without signal for a week

The forest view surrounding the camper Haley Galvin stays at each summer at Lake Village Family Campground.

Haley Galvin

Seven full days with zero cell service. I’m not sure how I managed to make it through. I am constantly on my phone, checking social media until I can’t refresh anymore. It is not something I am proud of, but I admit I should detach myself from it more. That is why my unplugged trip to Indiana was so important for me.

I headed off to Indiana for an annual camping trip with my best friends. Our camper was located in a wooded campground, which meant we had zero signal.

Having no signal meant none of us could use our phones for much more than music in the background. We truly had to spend time together, we didn’t have to worry about interrupted conversations or disinterested nods from someone too invested in their latest game or Instagram post. We found more interesting ways to entertain ourselves, such as knocking sticks out of dead trees to make a fire — something which was a lot harder than you would think considering we only had a football to throw and the tree was at least 15 feet above our heads. I have the worst aim, but it made for some great laughs. 

Not having my phone allowed me to enjoy nature a little bit more too. I was woken up by the birds chirping and cracking sticks as small animals ran around the ground. It was accompanied by the rustling leaves as the wind blew through the trees. 

It was soft and peaceful as we sat around the table. What could have been moments of awkward silence became relaxing togetherness where we relished in the beauty around us. The only “tweets” any of us heard were from the actual birds. 

By the second day, I did not even miss having my phone. The constant urge to check it was gone. I could leave it in the camper for hours and not care at all. We headed to a beach and even when I had signal there, I didn’t care. I wanted to enjoy the moments with my friends. I felt so at ease. 

The world around me seemed simpler, and I felt more in touch with my friends since we were all detached from our phones. None of our conversations started with “Did you see this post?” or “I saw this video.” We recalled old memories while making new ones. I also realized how spoiled we are when it comes to navigation. We rely on our phones to get us anywhere but without that, we needed to use our own navigation skills or, shall I say, lack thereof. We ended up getting lost and had to stop and ask a shady store clerk for directions. It was a bit of a struggle getting to some destinations, but was worth it. I didn’t mind getting lost with my favorite people. 

 

Since the trip, I have found myself less dependent on my phone. I recommend everyone to take time to unplug and reconnect with the real world, even if just for a few hours.