There’s a small and very unique restaurant not one hour from my home called “Vino in the Valley.” Set in the remote hill country of southern Wisconsin, this open patio-style eatery offers fantastic Italian food and wines from a local winery.
Recently, my wife and I and several friends spent the better part of an evening enjoying each others company, feasting on the various pasta dishes that landed on our table. While the food was great and wines even better, there was one benefit to this place that most others didn’t offer — no cell service.
I know that may seem strange as a benefit, but it was. Because of its hidden location, nestled in a bowl between deeply wooded hills, the chatter-signals simply couldn’t bounce in. As a result, all of us either left our phones in our cars or used them solely as cameras. Here’s what I found happened to me.
I was present in the conversations. I was focused on people in front of me rather than those buzzing in my coat pocket. For me, that’s a big deal. Being an idea guy, I tend to hear an idea, spin it around in my head and imagine all the possibilities — mentally leaving the conversation for a few minutes. This drives my wife nuts!
Yet settled in the valley on a cool night in June, I could focus and enjoy. Without the stress of technology, I wasn’t distracted to post on Facebook, check email or write down ideas for my blog or upcoming podcast. I was given the gift of full engagement, learning more about the friends about whom I love deeply.
Maybe, I should leave my phone in the car more often. Just a thought.