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Thomas Takes a Vacation – The World Does Not End


Just a quick note to let you know that I was out of town for almost a week and am now home in Chicago catching up.  I spent a few days a the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank, California and then headed east to Palm Springs for a few days of vacation.

During this entire time I had little or no Internet connectivity and guess what? My world did not end and it was a good thing.  It gave me time to think through a lot of issues that have come up lately in terms of administering the GeneaBloggers site and also how I approach making money in the genealogy field.

I’ve reached some preliminary conclusions which I’ll share with you over the next few days. Don’t worry – while some will affect how GeneaBloggers is run, especially now that we have maxed out Google Reader with its 2,000 blog limit, some changes will be minor.

And some changes are personal and involve lifestyle changes – all for the better and when I feel comfortable sharing them with you, I will.

I strongly encourage that at least once a year, you take a “total disconnect” vacation as I am calling it.  While I did this unwillingly in the beginning of my absence, by Sunday I was able to take a “let go and let G_d” attitude which has been very peaceful, and surprisingly productive.

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Let’s make this an Open Thread Thursday! What are your thoughts on “disconnecting” – do you find it difficult to do? Do you actually ever disconnect at least once a year? Any tips or advice for someone who feels the need to be totally connected?

©2011, copyright Thomas MacEntee

21 thoughts on “Thomas Takes a Vacation – The World Does Not End

  1. Thanks Thomas!! I sure enjoy your posts. You are such a busy man I don’t know how you keep up with it all. Well you deserve a vacation. I will be gone for about 2 weeks in July to visit my mom. I will be very busy scanning family pictures, newspaper clippings, etc. and going to the cemeteries and get pictures of family headstones. I will be internet free while I’m gone.

    Waiting to see your updates on what’s happening.

  2. “Peaceful and productive”, I cannot think of better words to describe “disconnecting”.

    Thomas, I am so happy for you that you were able to experience this and take time to reflect on what might be best for you personally and professionally in the long run.

    A couple of weeks ago I unplugged and left home without my iPhone and my iPad. In truth, at first I felt a little strange, but my bag was a lot lighter, and eventually so was my spirit. I went to the lake front, and just sat looking, listening, and sensing the fragrance of all that was around me. I am not a religious person, but I “prayed” in the way that I do; it’s more of a meditation really.

    Pema Chodron is a person I greatly admire, and I often find myself listening to her lecture about “learning to stay”, in other words, to just be in the moment that we are in. That morning on the lakefront that is what I tried to do, just ‘stay’. By disconnecting on that day I felt incredibly uplifted.

    Since then, I have been trying to disconnect each day for a least a few hours. Each evening I shut down my desktop computer and any other electronic devices I use during the day. I feel more connected to those around me, my husband, my friends, and my dogs. I hope I am able to maintain this feeling of “connectedness”, and I wish this feeling of peace and connection for everyone.


  3. Good for you Thomas.. I do this every so often during the year. It really does clear the cobwebs and it is just amazing how the creative juices can flow when we do this and take stock of where we are in life with whatever we are doing.

    Look forward to your future blogs.


  4. Mary

    I use the word G_d as a personal preference and it is something I started doing during my year at seminary (yes, Thomas spent a year working on his M.Div degree). It is my personal belief that this power that is greater than me cannot be named – the minute we try to do that we attempt to put G_d in a “box” and define the Diety on our terms. It is more out of respect than anything else, and again, it is a personal choice.

  5. So glad you got some time away! It’s nice to step back and get an electronic break once in a while. It gives you a chance to really think clearly and get some much needed rest. 🙂

  6. I never completely disconnect, but on our vacation last week, I did only essential emails and blog comment moderation…nothing that could wait. It was nice, although I’ve been back for nearly 72 hours and I’m still not caught up.

    I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your ponderings. I’ve been doing quite a bit of that myself lately.

  7. Thomas, I’m so glad that you took a well deserved vacation. I look forward to hearing the results of your pondering. You do so much for the genealogy community, but you are only one man. Make sure you take care of yourself first.

  8. We the kids were younger and seemed ‘attached’ to the compuer/tv/gaming screens – we would have ‘power out’ time. Everything is shut off. You’d think the world ended; but like you said they found out it doesn’t. That’d when the board games were dusted off and cracked open giving us a fun family night.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  9. I love to “disconnect”! When we vacation in Colorado, we don’t even have a TV. It’s the most restful vacation ever. Don’t know how this will play out now that I have a Droid – before I couldn’t be connected with my phone. But we’ll see – maybe I’ll “forget” the phone charger 😉

  10. Good for you, Thomas! I almost totally “disconnected” for about 4 days at the end of April (thank you, mother nature) when I was without power from all the tornadoes. It was actually pretty nice. I manged to pick up a book – with actual pages – and read it!

  11. I can think of few people who deserve a break as much as you do, Thomas. I am also one of those people who finds it extremely difficult to disconnect – from work, from all the details I have to take care of in family life, and sometimes from blogging. However, genealogy IS my way of taking a break. My favorite “vacations” within the last year or two were the trip to and from Charleston this year, Greenville, SC last fall, and – the blizzard of 2010. Four days at home with little to do but genealogy. Beautiful, peaceful, fun.

  12. When I was in Spain earlier this year I thought I could connect, and was initially beside myself with grief at not being able to get internet. After two days I let go and enjoyed the rest of the week. Last month I went away for four days and left all the technology behind, and no one even noticed, not even me! I think you have to just DO IT to know (like you said) the world will not end. It will be easier the next time, which will be soon, I hope, for both of us!

  13. Thomas,
    It was a well deserved break for you. No one I know works harder than you.

    It takes me about 3 days of being disconnected before I stop looking for it. We hope to get off the grid and do more camping and relaxing to maintain balance in our lives.

  14. Hi, Thomas,

    I am so glad you got to take some time to unplug. I didn’t bring my laptop to Jamboree because I wasn’t taking any classes in which I needed it. Therefore, there was no reason to have it. I checked my email once on someone else’s only because I wanted to check the status of my ProGen application.

    I often unplug, and for my children, it the first thing that they get grounded from. I truly feel that we are all so plugged in and tuned out that we are missing some very basic human connections. Also, technology has created a large entitlement issue by giving people information so readily. “I want it now!” has become very ingrained in our society with instant gratification.

    Unplugging and reconnecting with people is definitely needed more often for so many of us. I’m glad you were able to de-stress a bit and enjoy life.

    I had so much fun meeting you. Can’t wait to see you all again.

    Take care,

  15. Good for you Thomas, I find the first couple of days the hardest to disconnect but always no I am the better for it. It’s hard to be present when your checking your laptop and phone all the time. So when it comes to vacation with the family the rest of the world will have to wait.

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