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When I first decided to embark upon this epic adventure, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, everyone was quick to say I would never survive without the use of tech gadgets and the daily checking in on social media sites. I agreed. How could I possibly survive completely unplugged for that long. I mean I had a hard enough time when in Hawaii a few years back, Google released Google plus and by the time I woke up on island time, the news was old and I was on a waiting list to get in. TWO WEEKS? Perhaps I cold train for this.

Should I slowly wean myself from our digital world reading social updates only twice a day, or should I just dive back into the Franklin Covey Day Planner way cold turkey? How would I prepare my team? What if Hootsuite went haywire? What if one my kids posted something cute on Instagram? What if another new social media platform was launched? I realized I had FOMO! Fear Of Missing Out. So I went to the very network of people that I would miss and asked for their tips and advice.

I want to thank everyone who sent me tips and recommendations for survivng two weeks in Digital Detox. Ideas came in via email, this blog, Twitter and on Facebook. Some advice was funny, like Sarah’s idea to create a hat of tinfoil to try and pick up a cell signal and carry on, business as usual, while climbing Kilimanjaro ( I do love the thought of this one). Some tips were practical like Melissa’s tips to bring lithium batteries and Kelly’s to bring a sketchbook to draw the amazing things I would see. My favorite sarcastic suggestion came from Alan, who told me to quickly take a RETRO-writing class to learn to write with a pencil and paper again, which did make me wonder if I would be able to write like that without getting severe hand cramps. Of course I loved the advice that many gave, to unplug, quit fighting it and enjoy the trip. Nothing online would be as interesting as what I would encounter on this expedition. My good friend, Neen, gave me three words that I will work on: RELAX, SAVOR and ENJOY.

My physical training is just about complete and aside from knees that are sore after hours of downhill pounding during our hikes, I do feel strong –both physically and mentally. Last week I wrote and sent two cards and created a grocery list…on paper, so I feel prepared technologically.

I also came to realize that, while I will be unplugging from daily social media checkins, tweets and posts, this is not an Amish adventure. It’s an epic life adventure and those should be well documented! I will not completely unplug from all technology. I am brining my Samsung wifi camera that magically connects with my Samsung Galaxy S4 phone to allow me to get great group shots using the phone as a remote for the camera. I can see what my camera is seeing on my phone screen and click snap from the phone. I will charge these each night with a solar charger that hooks on my backpack collecting sun all day. I also slipped my iPad in my backpack to document the trip. I brought a paper journal and 3 pens but just in case I get cramps, I have a back up.

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So thank you to all who shared tips, sarcasm and sage advice. We put everyone’s name into our cool app, Randomizer Lite app (which we love for any contest or just to pick which family member has to do the dishes), and we are thrilled to announce the winner of the MOPHIE JUICE POWERPACK courtesy of Verizon Wireless……

MELISSA TEEARS!!!

Check back here for up update on my lessons from Kilimanjaro and in the mean time, be sure to follow #VZWBuzz and @VerizonWireless on Twitter for more fabulous information and weekly prizes that will keep you tech-savvy and connected!

Asante Sana (thank you very much)
@GinaSchreck