Technology at the Cottage: The Eternal Debate

Since the invention of the television, there have been debates over having technology available at the cottage or not. Some people refuse it and others can’t live without it. While we can certainly appreciate the value of disconnecting, we (or I) wouldn’t be able to spend as much time at the cottage without the internet.

The work I do is largely technology-based. In fact I’ve set one client’s administration up specifically so I can continue to support them from anywhere. This became more important as our boys grew up and stopped coming to the cottage with us. Not having to work around their schedules meant that we were able to leave the city earlier, stay at the cottage longer and be there more often. We wouldn’t be able to do that if I couldn’t “telecommute.”

Being connected at the cottage has other benefits as well, benefits that directly relate to our enjoyment of our time there.

  • Technology allows us to keep in touch with friends and family back in the city which gives us peace of mind.
  • We can check the weather forecasts and track weather systems and plan our activities accordingly.
  • It allows us to do the little things like checking sunset times so we time our evening walk to catch the display over the bay.
  • Let’s face it – you can’t always be entertaining the kids! Sometimes a movie or video game can save your sanity. I hear it’s not safe to send children out in a thunderstorm. It can be equally unsafe to have them clamoring at you constantly during said storm.
  • We don’t have to watch the same DVD’s over and over now that we can access Netflix!
  • Let’s not forget the Fishing App! It lets us track our catch, the locations, conditions, and bait we use!

There are pitfalls to being connected at the cottage too; for example it means I can work all weekend. A couple years ago I brought a girlfriend up to the cottage for a nice weekend away. We worked nearly all weekend! In the end I certainly didn’t feel like we had the break I’d hoped we’d have together. Lesson learned! This is a trap I can often fall into: once night falls and we move inside, I open the laptop and plug away at “light” work things (and maybe a little too much Facebook).

Technology allows you to be so connected that you forget to be present and enjoy the peace of the cottage.

Last weekend was Cottage opening and we were without internet for the entire weekend. I confess, I did use my cell data to send one critical document for a client. Oh, and I snuck peeks at Facebook and email throughout the weekend. I didn’t love feeding what now feels like an addiction like that. This this year I’ll be turning the technology off at least a little more.

I suppose all of this is to say that while technology affords us certain luxuries at the cottage, the key is moderation and ensuring we remain present in the moment and enjoy some of the more earthly delights right where we are.

NOTE TO BRIAN: You have my full permission to get me to put my laptop away from Friday at 7pm to Sunday – unless it’s for my own writing of course!

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