Connecting by Disconnecting

As I write this, the Mail program on my laptop is chugging away, pulling down all of the work emails received since we left for vacation a week ago. Next on the list will be going through my personal emails, remanent Manic Mommies emails, family emails and school updates.

It’s the first step in reconnecting after a week spent blissfully disconnected. The lack of connectivity while on a boat (and out of the country), is one of the major reasons we selected a cruise vacation. The first time we cruised (in 2010), Steve and I were the only ones who needed to disconnect, but this time, all four of us needed the digital break. A break from the texting. The Instagram-ing. The gaming.  The friendship dramas.

The four of us also needed to reconnect. We needed to put down the to-do lists, homework assignments, chore charts, and schedules.  We needed to hold hands, snuggle, laugh, fight, talk, and listen without the pressure of our daily lives.

Isn’t it amazing how you can see people everyday, and still feel like you are missing each other?

We tried new foods. Spent time with my parents as well as my brother and his girlfriend. Embarked on new adventures. Had long conversations. And I was struck, once again, by the amazing people that are the children we are raising.

We made short work of a dessert sampler.
We made short work of a dessert sampler.
Sophie learns to skydive
Sophie learns to skydive on the Quantum of the Seas

Without the protection of our electronics, we were also able to open up to new connections. A chance encounter through my brother, a man who can get anyone to start chatting, brought us in contact with a local cyclist Steve and I had met over the summer (How much did I love the moment when she said… “wait? Are you Steve the Bike Guy?”).

Turns out she was on the cruise with her family, which included a boy and girl with whom our children immediately connected.

New friends waiting for the movie to start.
New friends waiting for the movie to start.

While our children wandered the boat with new friends, Steve and I found ourselves spending time with their parents and friends, brought together by shared backgrounds, careers, interests and shared connections. (At points it felt like an ongoing game of “do you know…”).

On the last night the grownups toasted new friendships and talked about how to continue to connect after the cruise. New friends for the grown ups too? What an unexpected and pleasant surprise, and  should be assisted by our daughters’ insistence we schedule a sleepover AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

Back in the car, we were back on our devices – but the new connections followed us home as Anders exchanged texts with his new friend, and I added two new gal pals on Facebook.

Now at home, we are already starting to retreat to our separate corners – Steve is clearing the snow; Anders is playing video games in the basement), Sophie is chilling with Chewie, and I’m ensconced in our bedroom as I catch up on the email, unwatched tv shows and laundry.

But it’s okay, because after the past week, I am feeling more connected than ever.


7 thoughts on “Connecting by Disconnecting

  1. Hooray for all of you for savoring the benefits of being connected to each other!! Now that your children are older, do you think that this type of cruise is better suited to your family than a Disney cruise? I would like to plan a cruise in a couple of years (when my daughter will be about 9) and after hearing wonderful stories of Disney cruises from Manic Mommies and elsewhere, that was my initial idea. Thoughts?


    1. Erin loves the Disney cruises so it certainly would be a safe bet. We have always (if 3 times constitutes “always”) gone Royal Caribbean in large part because we travel with my parents and brother, so it seemed to have more broadly focused. I will say, we were disappointed with the activities for Sophie this year (9) – RC knows how to handle the younger kids and the tweens, but didn’t have enough for those in the middle. Fortunately, Sophie found a friend and they could wander the boat together.


  2. Stranded here in Orlando tonight after our flight home was cancelled due to weather in our connecting city. Two more days out of the cold as we can’t get home until Monday now! Kristin, when we docked in St. Maarten, we were next to TWO Royal Caribbean ships and I said to the boys, “Imagine if the Brandts were on one of those boats?!? For Amanda, I have to say, this was our second Disney Cruise–this time on the Fantasy–and it was the vacation of a lifetime. Disney has a club for tweens called Edge (11-4) where my boys and their cousins basically hung out the whole trip. A lot had changed on this trip compared to our last Disney cruise 7 years ago. The big difference I noticed was all the activities they had for all ages. I took a cooking class, Italian cocktail tasting class and the adults only areas were vastly expanded. There was no denying it was a Disney cruise (characters everywhere!) but if you wanted none of that, it was easy to avoid it. I have to agree with Kristin, being unable to connect with the mainland for 7 days was a total treat. When we docked in San Juan I suspected I could get cell service and reload my email, but I kept my device off an just took in the sights. In this day and age age, it felt totally weird to not hear a cell phone ring–anywhere–for an entire week.


  3. My absolute favorite part of cruising is being disconnected from the rest of the world.

    We love Disney Cruise Line! But it’s the only line we’ve cruised with so I’m a bit biased.

    Kristen (and Erin) I have to add, every time my Downcast scrolls through to download new podcasts and there isn’t a new Manic Mommies episode it makes me a little sad. 😦


    1. I think the Disney Cruise Line sounds excellent – kind of wish we had tried it this time.

      There have been more than a few times I’ve thought – can’t wait to tell this on the podcast (only to remember, we don’t have one!!!)


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