What I learned on my social media vacation

My wife, Sally, and I recently went on a road trip throughout California to pursue several of our passions: wine, Scotch, and California’s natural beauty. I wanted to make sure I really relaxed, so I decided to take a social media vacation too.

My self-imposed social media hiatus caused me to more fully engage with the people and the world around me rather than habitually pull out my smart phone to Tweet, Like, or Share. This ultimately led to better service, a better experience, and much high levels of satisfaction. 

The bar at the Albion River Inn

Social media allows you to connect with people who share similar interests, but real connections are often more rich and interesting.

We met Megan, a bartender at the Albion River Inn near Mendocino, who shares our passion for Scotch and knows much more about it than we do. The Inn has approximately 150 varieties in their restaurant and Megan helped us expand our knowledge. She even let us taste a few old and rare Scotches we’d never before seen.

A few days later we shared a communal table with some locals at the Bounty Hunter in Napa. One of our companions was Justin, who turned out to be the Bounty Hunter’s spirits manager. Not surprisingly, Justin is a huge fan of Scotch too, which made for a fun dinner conversation. Justin even told us he might be able to help us find some of those rare Scotches that Megan had introduced us to.

A secluded beach in Northern California, near MendocinoSocial media can help you make new discoveries, but the real-world is full of discoveries if you keep your eyes open.

We found a hidden trail that led to a secluded beach without reading any reviews on Trip Advisor or downloading a trail finder app. The only clues we had were a car parked on the side of the road and a small sign reminding people to keep their dogs on a leash. 

Sally spotted the trailhead while we were taking a leisurely drive along the coast near Mendocino in Northern California. I doubt she would have seen it if she was engrossed in Facebook updates.

We felt a sense of adventure as we pulled over near the other car and got out. The trail wound through a sparse grove of trees before meandering through a rolling pasture. After less than a mile we came to a small, secluded beach that offered gorgeous views of the California coast.

The view from my new favorite chair

Social media is an escape for many people, but really escaping can be so much more rewarding.

I spent nearly a full day sitting in an adirondack chair overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I read, solved sudoku puzzles, and took in the view. It also turned out to be the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while watching the late afternoon sun slowly start its descent.

I’ll admit there were times throughout the trip when I had to fight the urge to check online. For example, one day Sally posted a funny picture on Facebook that I wanted to see. Then I remembered that I had taken the picture and had seen the real thing.

I really hope I can remember these lessons now that I'm back to work.