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This weekend I’m unplugging.

Yep, that’s right. I’m turning off my phone and going off the grid. And, by off the grid, I mean Colorado.

My favorite aunt and I planned this trip to Colorado Springs about a month ago as a way to see each other for the holidays. With her flying in from Philadelphia and me flying out of San Francisco, flying into Denver was one of the most budget-friendly options.

This is starting to become a tradition for us – meeting once a year in a city neither of us knows very well. Last time it was Chicago.

Seeing her is always relaxing to me because we have such a good relationship and we keep things low-key. Much of our time together is spent walking, talking and eating, and, if there is something one of us wants to try, the other is always up for it.

So, this time I told her that I’m cutting off my connection to everyone else. They can survive without me for a weekend and, if there’s an emergency, they can call the hotel.

Letting my cell phone die used to be one of my favorite things to do. Without my phone, I felt free. I could live in the moment. I could relax. I especially liked turning off my phone before heading out on an unplanned adventure, just me and whatever hooptie I was driving.

When I became a journalist, though, being disconnected was no longer an option. Nowadays, my phone is always on and I need to look at it way more often than I’d like. I can’t be the reporter who missed the important email from an important source. Nope. Instead, I sleep with my phone next to my head. I don’t even have an alarm clock – or a clock at all – that isn’t attached to my phone.

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I don’t like that my time is never wholly mine. It’s just mine until someone calls, texts or emails. It’s difficult enough to be mindful and present without having all these constant distractions. Social media has just made it worse because now, instead of just seeing a “missed call” on my phone, I see Facebook and Twitter notifications for things I’m not even interested in.

Oh, this person just went “live” on Facebook, you say? Well, let me put everything down and hop to – I can’t wait to see what the kid I went to middle school with is looking at today.


And definitely not this weekend.

Maria Sestito is the Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. Jersey Girl runs every other Sunday. Follow her on Twitter at @RiaSestito or email her at