As many of you know, COLIBRI has been on the go this summer, blogging and working for ANIS étoilé teaching Frenchies about sustainable cooking and food. While she hasn’t been corresponding from the jungles of Guatemala, sometimes her (lack of) internet connection has made her feel as if she might as well be.

COLIBRI has been learning the hard way that an internet connection isn’t something to take for granted. If you, like COLIBRI, always have several computers on hand (smart phone, laptop, desktop and maybe an iPad), unplugging can be a bit of a shock.

COLIBRI has learned that there are two basic issues involved with unplugging:

  • The internet connection itself
  • Your attitude

The Internet Connection

Here are some possible solutions:

  • Map your trip in advance and plan regular stops in towns or hotels where you can get an internet connection.
  • Do most of your research ahead of time so your need for the internet is limited.
  • Select posts from your editorial calendar ahead of time and write about the topics that come most easily to you, again limiting your need for the internet.
  • Draft your posts using paper and pen. It’s old fashioned, but it works.
  • Write your posts in advance and schedule them using tools like hootsuite and the Facebook pages scheduling feature.
  • If you have staff, someone else can write your articles and publish them for you.
  • Buy a wifi stick. In France at the moment you can purchase a 3G stick for 49 euros/month. You use or lose the bandwidth during that time period. So, if you download too many bytes you will run out before the month is over and need to purchase another one. COLIBRI tried to buy a 3G stick the last time she was near a mall, but the employee who sold them was on vacation, so she can’t tell you how well they work or last.
  • Unlock your iPhone 4S while in France and download Cydia and tetherme, turning your phone into a wireless hotspot. You have to have a local cellphone provider, like Free, to do this. COLIBRI tried it using a colleague’s 3G. It worked slowly for a while and then stopped working, but it should work better with a 4S. (This is, COLIBRI knows, a complex solution for short term visits.)
  • For urgent situations like unavoidable deadlines, be prepared to pay outrageous amounts of money for international rates for data.

Your Attitude

It’s one thing to have an irregular internet connection. It’s another thing to freak out about not having one.

Here are some thoughts:

  • Follow the British model, “Keep calm and carry on.”
  • Have a regular meditation practice. This way, you’ll be more likely to adapt to stressful working conditions.
  • Be flexible. Work whenever you can, even if it’s for just a short while or if the writing isn’t flowing.

COLIBRI can tell you this for sure: all of those disjointed little writing sessions really do add up. You will be surprised at how your material adds up if you just keep writing.

Enjoy the benefits of being unplugged. Creativity works differently offline. Treat your unplugged time as an opportunity to learn about yourself and the world.

Now you tell us: what are solutions for finding internet while traveling and what are ways to stay calm and productive if your internet connection is limited?

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