Tech Guru Tells You Why It’s Healthy to Unplug Daily

Omar Gallaga, the Austin American-Statesman’s resident techie know-it-all accidentally drowned his iPhone in the ocean… and had the best vacation in his life. He steps into the Texas Standard studio to gives us tips on healthfully unplugging from our devices.

By David BrownJuly 9, 2015 3:24 pm

He had the bright idea to snorkel while Periscoping. Omar Gallaga says he bought a waterproof case just for the occasion, but once it was in the ocean, the case started to leak. He says his phone was completely decimated by the saltwater. The down side, no phone. The up side, he got to unplug. He had a vacation where he was in the moment.

Was it hard to go sans smartphone?

“Every time I would see something I’d want to take a picture and I’d say ‘Oh, I don’t have a camera,” he says. “I would walk by people who were texting or playing games and just feel this intense jealousy. I would reach into my pocket and there was nothing there. It was just the daily rituals that we have with our phones every day. I definitely felt a pang of missing out on those things.”

But he said being forced to unplug from technology for a week was an incredibly positive experience. He says he felt more present in the day-to-day of life.

“I think when we’re in a special place or we’re on a trip or something we want to document it. We want to remember it. Our instinct is to take photos to share it with our friends, to post it on Facebook to commemorate that moment,” he says. “We’re missing the moment by doing that.”

What are some ways we can all take mini-vacations from our technology?

“What some people are doing is creating a family time — like maybe the hour or two when they get home from work — that’s a no iPhone zone,” he says.

Another great way to disconnect is to shut off your phone or put it on the ‘do no disturb’ setting an hour or two before bed, Gallaga says.