In the past, this fishing lodge catered to everyone. They had theme nights for families, hearty breakfasts for everyone, and you felt as though you were a guest in the owners’ home. There was internet in all the cabins, ping pong and casino night in the rec center, canoes, paddle boats, and bonfires. Heck, the owners would even visit you in your cabin in the evening, bringing with them a bottle of wine to share.
We packed up our fishing gear, warm clothes, food, and of course a supply of Spotted Cow. We headed for about an hour north of International Falls, expecting the same as before. We knew the camp had new owners, but we weren’t prepared for what awaited us.
We knew we wouldn’t have cell coverage up there. What we didn’t expect, however, was the absence of any internet connection. When we arrived at the lodge that Sunday afternoon in the pouring rain, we found that we were unable to tell anyone we had arrived safely. I’ll touch on this again a little later.
Suzi and I were essentially cut off from all communication with the rest of the world.
Was this a good thing? One could say yes. We were on vacation, after all. We were in a different country in the middle of nowhere. I was getting burned out at work, and I hadn’t had a vacation in over two years. Just being away felt good. On the other hand, no one back home knew if we got there safely. We couldn’t receive any news, good or bad. Some country could have launched a nuclear attack on another and we’d have no clue about it.
My point in all of this is that we have become so dependent on technology and information. Especially those of us who work with it every day. Although we were in what I consider one of the most beautiful places on Earth, it was unnerving to not know what was going on. No Twitter feed, no Facebook, I couldn’t check work emails (not that I would have anyway). No SQL Server clusters, no T-Log restores, no VMs. About the only technology we had was three phase AC current, and the internal combustion engine in our boat motor.
There was a genuine withdrawal – I assume not unlike someone who is quitting smoking (though maybe not as severe of a withdrawal), not being able to get online. Those of us in technology rely on information, and when we can’t access it, it becomes very unsettling.
Ultimately, we were able to go to the main lodge and access their very limited wi-fi for a bit and let everyone know we were safe and having fun. We were able to post a couple Facebook updates. Suzi and I were also able to see that our friends and family were safe after the violent storms ripped through Madison last week.
In conclusion, in this day and age we take technology for granted. We see it almost as a right. And when that right is taken away from us, we become lost. But that might not be a bad thing once in a while.