Friday, August 21, 2009


Sometimes I feel as though my computer and keyboard have become extensions of my body. Anyone out there get into Star Trek Next Generation? Remember the Borg? Humanoids who have been altered and plugged into a collective conscience? I feel like that once in a while. Completely dependent upon electronics and tied into a collective called the Internet.

If I’m not writing at my computer, I’m going through emails on the computer. If I’m not on the keyboard, I’m on the phone. If not on the land line, I’m on my cell phone, taking it with me on walks with the dogs and on errands. Then you got your iPods, dvd players, cable TV, Internet, Wi-fi, radio, cds. I could go on and on and on with electronic devices and the various ways we’re connected to the world.

Well, I’m unplugging. Next week. Yikes!

My family and I are renting a lake cabin on a small lake in northern Wisconsin. In fact, we're renting this lake cabin on the left. Cool, huh? The pic on top is the lakeview and the one below is the fireplace in the main living area.

The cabin was built in the early 1900s. It’s on a gorgeous, clear water lake. Has a nice fire pit, and you can’t even see the neighboring cabins it’s so secluded. I’ll have no cell phone coverage in this area. There’s no Wi-fi, no Internet or cable TV. I’m not even bringing my laptop.

This is the first time we’ve ever rented a cabin for a whole week and I can’t wait. All I’m going to do is hang out in the sun, fish, swim, nap, read, eat and play board games with my family. I have to admit I’m a bit anxious about going through withdrawals. And I’m already not looking forward to the massive amounts of email I’ll have to contend with on my return, but I’m thinking it’s going to be worth it!

When’s the last time you completely unplugged? How’d it go? Withdrawals? Piece of cake? Never doing it again? Best thing ever?

I know blogged about this yesterday at eHarlequin, so I apologize to anyone coming here from there. But I thought it was such an interesting topic that I wanted to hear what our Rider Reader had to say. Plus, I couldn't post more than my book cover, so these wonderful photos are new!

Happy travels! And may I suggest Wisconsin?



Cindy Gerard said...

Oh, Helen, have a great time!! We have a cabin in northern Minnesota - very much the same setting as your Wisconsin get away and we've been going up for years. It was my oasis. We did have a phone but no internet so no e-mail and it was heaven. THEN this year, I broke down and got wireless internet. I know. It's like a snake in paradise but because of my writing deadlines, I needed to keep connected this summer. I hate it because I really loved getting away from it all.
We're leaving for the lake again tomorrow - and like every other trip we've taken up there this summer, it will be a working vacation for me. NEXT year, I swear, I'm going to have that sucker disconnected though.

Helen Brenna said...

And I'll remind you, Cindy! lol

Michele Hauf said...

Helen, it looks gorgeous!

I think I could go without the 'connection' for a week, but not sure about the lake unless I knew the cabin had very modern ammenities. :-) I'm a city girl. Don't like camping much. Yes, I know, toss the tomatoes at me right now.

I actually think I could live without a TV for a long time. We got a big screen almost two weeks ago, but it's still not hooked up because we're having a heck of a time finding a wall mount for it. And though we have a tv downstairs, I just don't venture down there, so I have been tv free that long. But I'm really craving that big screen. Can't wait to pop in my favorite costume dramas and watch them!

Laney4 said...

Hi again, Helen! Good to see you at RWTTD too!
Rather than repeating yesterday's response to your blog, I'll just tell you that I like your pictures of the cabin. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and all those words are telling me it's a wonderful place to go on vacation.
Sure hope you have a nice holiday! Thanks again for offering a chance to win your book!

Kathleen Eagle said...

Helen, th cabin looks wonderful. Elizabeth's MIL--and my good friend--goes to their WI cabin every year alone for several weeks--late in the summer after all the family stuff. I've often envied her that.

I wouldn't mind being unplugged. Not at all. I just got a new cell phone (the 2 year turnover) that has way more stuff on it than I will ever use. I'm not twittering--ever--although it would probably be a good discipline for me to keep it short. But nobody really needs or wants to know what I'm doing right now. I tthink there's such a thing as being too connected.

Enjoy your lovely unplugged week, m'dear!

Helen Brenna said...

Michele, I could do without a cell phone, likely do without email and the internet, but I could NEVER do without the TV! Ack. My movies. Gotta have them.

Helen Brenna said...

Hi Laney! I figured we had a few people her from eHQ, so sorry for the redo. I can't figure out how to post more than one pick on eHQ, though, so only my book cover went up, rather than the cabin photos. Pretty, ain't it? lol

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, Kathy, a week or two alone like that would be amazing. I wouldn't want to do it during the summer - miss too much time with the kids. But after school starts up again, I'd be all over that.

That's another question for folks. Could you be unplugged AND alone for a week?

Terry Odell said...

We were vacationing/touring in South Africa, where if we were 'lucky', the hotel might have 1 or 2 computers in the lobby for Internet access, but they never worked. I didn't really miss it. We had a laptop (hubby is the one with the more severe withdrawal), and I could use it to keep a journal. It wasn't until I got to Cape Town for the job I was in SA to do (but who's gonna go all that way just for a week of working?), that I had real Internet access again. I survived just fine.

We're going on a 4 day cruise next month, and although the ship says we'll have access, I'd rather not -- feels too much like 'work.'

Kathleen O said...

I spent last week without my computer, as we have no land line at the cottage, so no internet,as I do not have a lap top either. The most I had was my cell phone and I don't have one of those fancy ones. Half the time it was not even on.

But when I got home the first thing I did even before unpacking and starting laundry was turn on my computer..
So have fun this week on you vacation. It looks like a great place to veg out..

GunDiva said...

Helen, the cabin looks lovely! I'm so envious - you'll have a great time. I get to unplug every Friday afternoon. I finish my weekly Dean's conference call, hop into my car and head up to my parent's B&B in Allenspark ( to get some equine therapy. There's no cell service on the mountain and I'm not taking my laptop out on the horse :) Last year, my parents put in wireless so that Mom could continue doing her school work, but until then we were as unplugged as you could get and still run a business (no TV either, just lots and lots of movies).

I don't know what I would do if I couldn't "escape" for a few hours each week. Have a great time on vacation!

Helen Brenna said...

Terry, you've raised an interesting point for me. I find it much easier to unplug when I go somewhere really special. Like it I took a trip to Greece, I'd wouldn't have much of a problem unplugging because there'd be so much to see and do.

I think the first couple of days at this cabin - being forced to sit and do pretty much nothing - is going to be hard for me!

Helen Brenna said...

Kathleen, I have a feeling the first I'll do, too, when I get home is boot up my computer! lol

Helen Brenna said...

GunDiva, that sounds so nice to unplug every weekend. I'm envious of you, dear!

catslady said...

I would love a week in a cabin away from everything. I got pretty close this summer - stayed for a week with some relatives who rent a place on the beach - although they had a TV and two had their computers - I ignored both and it was wonderful.

lunaticcafe said...

I wouldn't mind being unplugged for a little while, and I don't think I'd even mind being alone. We just moved across country from AZ to VA and we were constantly getting calls while we were driving- which I find annoying and dangerous. Our cell phones are Blackberry models so we were also plagued with emails. I just wanted to enjoy the drive into new places and I felt like it was one interruption after another. However, I would go crazy without the TV because I like movies and I need my radio so I can have my classical music.

The cabin looks and sounds amazing! Have a great time!

Helen Brenna said...

Whoa, Catslady, that's willpower, ignoring them even when they're there. I think I need to practice that.

Helen Brenna said...

Yeah, Lunatic, there is such a thing as being too available. Pros and cons to all of this stuff.

Debra Dixon said...

You know I've been taking a weekend day off and unplugging.

I find do have a lot of email but it's oddly easier to prioritize when you have a ton of email to go through. The line between important and unimportant is much clearer.

Natalie Acres said...

I'm lost without technology but if I decide to unplug, the Wisconsin cabin sounds marvelous.

Cowboy Love,
Natalie Acres