By Dean Whittaker

In my haste to board Delta flight 458 at the Kansas City International Airport, I inadvertently left my iPhone on the chair next to me in the waiting area. Once on board, I realized my loss and went back to look for it, but it was gone. Suddenly, I was disconnected from the universe. I had gone off the grid…wow! How often do we get a chance to disconnect from our technology these days? This happens rarely in my case.

The first reaction was to think uh oh, I can’t return the phone calls that I promised I would while I was traveling. My next reaction was, because I am indispensable to the world, I can’t be off the grid! Lastly, hey, this is cool, my stress levels have gone back to or below normal, and I feel more relaxed than I have felt for a very long time. So, I had a four-day vacation from my technology, and it felt like two weeks.

In the July issue of Wired Magazine, there is an article titled, “Unplugged” by Baratunde Thurston, an author and speaker who shares his experience of disconnecting from the Internet for 25 days. In his article, he describes the process by which he did so. He scheduled a vacation, alerted key clients, warned others, turned off automatic sync on his phone, set his away mail, established an emergency exception, took a deep breath, and then unplugged.

This being summer in the Northern Hemisphere, perhaps it would be a good time for all of us to take a break from our technology, grab a good book to read, unplug ourselves from our virtual world, and become reacquainted with the natural physical world around us. The first day or two you may have withdrawal systems such unexplained anxiety, nervousness, and a sense of loss. These will pass and then you will begin to relax and adjust to the way life used to be. It was slower, more deliberate with less of a sense of urgency.

The missing phone story does have a happy ending, however. Through the use of the app Find My Phone on my iPad, I was able to: 1. Lock my phone with a passcode, 2. Post my home number (yes, I still have a land line) on the screen; and 3. Find the current geographic location of my phone (Lost & Found at Delta at KCI). My phone is now back in my possession.

So, if you want to give up your privacy in exchange for the security of knowing where all of your iDevices are, download the “Find My Phone” app from the App Store. Once you have logged in and enabled the location services in the general settings tab, you will be able to check on the location of any of your iDevices – iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, iPod.