Wednesday, July 26, 2006


July 24th is a very exciting day in Utah. There are parades, barbecues, and parties. There are celebrations in parks, complete with bands, rides, food, rodeos and dancing. It’s a great time for sharing with family. And it all ends in the night with Fireworks. You can drive up into the foothills of the Wasatch Mountains overlooking the Salt Lake City metro area and see firework displays lighting up all across the valley.

It celebrates the day the first pioneer settlers came down Emigration Canyon and into the valley in their wagon trains in 1847.

A few years ago, in 1997, Utah celebrated the Sesquicentennial of that event (that’s a $75 word for “150-year anniversary”). There were lots of the same sorts of celebrations, all turned up a notch, but there was also something special. There were groups of people that re-enacted the trek of thousands of miles by walking and riding wagons and horses all the way across the scorching summer plains of Nebraska and Wyoming.

Of course, there were those in the trek that did it a little bit differently than our pioneer forefathers. The old-timers didn’t have GPS satellite pointers to mark the paths. They didn’t have cell phones or RV’s or mp3 players. I remember hearing about one man, a reporter, who made the trek posting digital photos on his blog along the way. He had a satellite internet connection and a solar panel to recharge the batteries in his laptop.

Partly in an attempt to get connected with my own pioneer ancestors, and partly out of interest, and partly because my wife got me a fortuitous Father’s Day gift, I’ve been learning how to cook in a dutch oven this summer. It has been a lot of fun, and I’ve been making some interesting and very scrumptious meals, if I do say so myself. The first one was pizza (because I had a fond memory of dutch oven pizza from a scout camp), then a chicken and rice dish with lemon slices, then an odd, but delicious, chicken soup. My attempt at making bread didn’t turn out so well, but the cobbler I made for a night out with our friends did.

I’ve been pouring over instruction books, on the ‘net and from the bookstore shelves, looking over recipes and learning all I can. I’m constantly amazed at what impressive, even gourmet meals I see in pictures that have been cooked outside with little more than this black iron pot and some coals. There are all kinds of breads and rolls, soups and stews, cakes and pies. It’s like anything that you can cook, fry, bake or boil can be made in this thing.

So, where am I going with all this?

Well, here it is: I spend all day at work on the computer. I teach my students, I work on my websites, I set up and monitor my promotions. I build links and write blogs. When I’m not at my desk, I’m carrying my cell phone. I can call, text message, or jump on the ‘net from anywhere. I can also read books and spin songs on my handheld.

When I go home, I’ll unwind in front of the TV, or spend some more time chatting online with a friend. Maybe I’ll spend some time recording a song in my studio and upload it to my site. I’m a child of my times. I am connected. I am wired.

Until just recently, I thought “roughing it” meant a dialup connection.

So, my point is that even though it’s very important to be actively engaged in your online business on a daily basis, and that it takes lots of hours at the computer to make a business run, it’s also good to unplug. Take some time and do some things that separate you from the busy tech-driven world.

My pioneer ancestors walked across the plains without a broadband connection or even a microwave. Yet, somehow, they survived. You can live without it for a little while, too.

Don’t worry, it’ll still be there when you get back.

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