I’ve been off the grid for two weeks, snugly oblivious at a rest stop along the information highway.

My 14-day long hiatus was intentional.  My wife and I took a long-planned vacation out of the country and I decided the best way to take full advantage of the time off was to tune out.

That’s uncommon for me and perhaps for most Americans today.  We are compulsively connected to each other and the world.  Information charges at us constantly from all directions, triggering reactions and responses.

That’s critical for me… most of the time.  The constancy of connectivity provides me with the currency of my business—information.

My days are a blur of texts and tweets, emails and phone calls, web surfing and channel changing. That’s not a complaint, it’s a simple reality of what must be done to gather the news and information I need to conduct a radio talk show and write daily commentaries.

To ignore any of the myriad ways we are connected risks falling behind, which is a death knell in the information dissemination business.

So most folks I know in media are, like me, compulsive about remaining connected, even when they are off work, out of town or even on vacation. It’s hard to switch off our competitive instincts.

But I did this time.

Yes, I had my phone, but it remained off.  E-mailers received the generic “out of office” reply. I went tweetless for 14 days and only bought a newspaper once–the International Herald Tribune—which contains mostly world news.

Family and work had our contact information in case of emergency, but thankfully there was none, so for two weeks we drifted along unencumbered by the normal demands of daily life, which is now broken down into hyper-busy moment-to-moment segments.

And so the focus during our travels was entirely on what to see and how to get there, where to eat and how to read a menu in a foreign language.  These are the fresh and exhilarating challenges of being on the road that awaken senses that can get dulled by the daily grind.

When we got back I called my family, checked my emails—over 1,000 had piled up—and found out, as we often do after an extended time away, that very little had changed.  That’s reassuring, but it’s also humbling.  You mean work and the world got along fine without me?

So my two-part vacation—out of the country and incommunicado—has come to an end.  I’m in town and online, and I’m fine with that.  I’m too interested in the news, thankful for my job and curious about the goings on from day-to-day and minute-by-minute to let it all pass without being a participant.

However, it was refreshing to be unplugged for awhile.

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  • Jt

    While you were away this gang had again decided everything is Obama's fault. So nothing has changed.

  • Shadow

    Next time you take off, leave an article for each day as we commenters all have high blood pressure as a result of not being able to release steam. Glad you enjoyed yourself and your wife.

  • DWM

    I do wish that this tizzy between WVU and WV Radio Corp didn't involve your employer, it would be great fodder to throw around. Love to see Raese and the powers to be at WVU go to the mats. I'm interested to see what really did go on. My guess is there was enough smoke to suspect a little fire.

  • chasmo

    welcome back , hop !! we missed you

  • mntnman

    The only way to vacation is to disconnect. It gives you time to enjoy life, recharge and be renewed. Glad you were able to do it. Now about all those issues out there...

  • rekterx

    Next time Hoppy you should check out for three weeks. I've only done it once in my life.

    It takes a week to feel disconnected. Week two is restful. And week three is like living in a whole different world.

  • DonaldH

    Oh, By the way, how long were you gone? I first noticed you weren't here Friday for steam release!!

  • ShinnstonGuy

    Glad you are back, Hoppy. I went to Cancun for a week earlier in the year and left all my devices at home. It was great! I heard only one piece of news the entire week; loved it!

  • Hop'sHip

    General Kercheval: While you were missing from action the enemy has escalated their "War on Coal", while the good guys have successfully pursued their "War on Women". But these wars just don't feel the same without you there to comment on them. Feel bad about you having to be thrown back into the grind covering that golf tournament down at the Greenbrier. But now that you have been refreshed, I know you can endure it. Welcome back, Hoppy.

  • thornton

    Glad the bread crumbs worked.

    In case you missed it in the pile of e-mails...some farm gates were stolen in Preston County.
    Likely someone is building a Bigfoot trap.
    Can that Monroe guy weld?

  • CaptainQ

    Welcome back, Hoppy!

    We all missed you, but I believe all of us here can certainly understand the need to 'get away from it all' and relax every so often. Glad you and your wife enjoyed your vacation.

  • Medman

    Hoppy it appears that you are getting smarter with age. Disconnecting while on vacation is the only way to really have a vacation. Welcome back. We missed your shining face.

  • GregG

    I'm glad to see you made it back Hoppy. I'm sure that your wife enjoyed having you "disconnected" for two weeks. The only thing that you missed was the State's birthday celebration. It was great!!

  • Joe

    Welcome back, Hop. Hope you both had fun.

    Also, Shawna did an outstanding job. Not sure if you know yet, but you have to get the recap of what has become the infamous "cannon episode" of Talkline. Classic and extremely entertaining....still chuckling about it!

  • Woodchuck

    Lets hear more about vacation. The other crap can wait.