Trip 1: Caribbean Cruise: Fun, Sun and Lessons Learned

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Toes in the sand on South Beach

For my first trip of my 12in12 adventure I went on a five day cruise, with my husband. We sailed out of Miami, visited Key West and Cozumel and then stayed another night in Miami before heading heading home. The weather was gorgeous and we spent most of our time just relaxing. We ate, drank and soaked up the sun, which was just what both of us needed. When we stopped in Key West we spent our time walking around and stopping in the little shops and restaurants. I especially enjoyed the chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick. The island is beautiful and we decided this was definitely a place we would come back to visit again. In Cozumel, we did a little bit of walking and shopping, but spent most of the day enjoying the ship without all the crowds. Our last night of vacation we spent in Miami. We walked around South Beach and enjoyed a fabulous dinner outside in the fresh, sea air. Miami, we decided too was a place we could see ourselves visiting again. It was an absolutely wonderful time spent with just my husband and a fabulous way to celebrate my birthday and kick off my year of travel.

When I decided on the 12in12 idea I wanted the vacation aspect of the trips, but I wanted them to be meaningful as well. I want to see and experience new things to relax and to learn, and this first one did all of that. My biggest take away from the trip was that I use my phone all together too much.  I love what technology has done for us in terms of availability of information and sharing- obviously I’m writing a blog, I get it.  But, I constantly worry what it is doing to our kids and while I monitor their usage, I have to wonder if I am being a good role model. My husband has always made little comments about the time I spend on my phone and I have always kind of blown it off, or I will set it down for a few minutes to appease him, only to pick it up later. I justified by saying I was multitasking or I was looking at my phone to relax, just like someone else might watch TV, what was the difference? But being without it on the cruise has really made me see how much I used it- and for what? I didn’t need to multitask or work and and I was certainly relaxing without. I actually blew through three magazines and read two books in one week! And I have to admit that there seemed to be some type of weight off my shoulders from that break from social media. When we were back on land and I had service, I did pick my phone back up, but I have resolved to make some minor changes so that I can break the habit of constantly picking it up.

Five Simple Ways to Break the Phone Habit

  1. Turn Off Push Notifications. Every time your phone lights up or makes a noise it acts as a trigger. Like Pavlov’s dogs your brain has been trained to pick up the phone when it produces the trigger- so remove the trigger and you’ll pick it less.
  2. Put Your Charger in an Inconvenient / Out Of The Way Place. I  kept chargers everywhere- the kitchen counter, the bathroom, nightstands, the car- everywhere. That way I could have my phone close by and charging, which in turn meant I could pick it up at every chance. So, I have limited my options and placed my chargers out of the way, like the laundry room and the spare room. I have my ringer on in case someone needs me, but now the phone isn’t staring me down begging me to pick it up anymore.
  3. Buy a Real Alarm Clock. Most people use their phones as their alarm clock, but that means that your phone is in your hands before you go to bed and as soon as you get up. You can find a simple alarm clock at the dollar store and that simple investment will keep you from staying up late and/or getting sucked into the your phone first thing in the morning.
  4. Keep a Small Notebook Handy. We all use our phones to create lists, take notes and set reminders, but the old school pen and paper might actually be more effective. When we write things down, instead of asking Siri to do it for us, we remember them better. When we pick up the phone to take that note, we are more tempted to quickly check emails, texts or social media for just a second, which usually turns into more wasted time.
  5. Set a Sleep Timer. A regular timer will just go off and you can keep scrolling or hit the snooze, but a sleep timer will shut your phone down so that you have to put it down.

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