Let’s be honest, we’ve been scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all day. Maybe on our lunch break today instead of chatting with a co-worker, we decided to catch up on some YouTube videos.
Let’s admit it together: “My name is________ and I’m addicted to technology.”
This week for T-Time, I chatted with the awesome McKenzie Rabeen, Co-Founder of Unplugged Events, who wants to change this.
Unplugged Events was created after McKenzie met Nikki (the other co-founder of Unplugged Events), when Nikki was her trip leader on her study abroad trip to Cambodia. On that trip, everyone was removed from their lives and the people back home because they lacked technology.
“The space we had created was so much more authentic,” McKenzie said alluding to the quick and life-long friendships that were made on the trip. “I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we weren’t glued to our phones.”
This past summer, Nikki went hiking in the Redwood forest and had a similar experience, making some of the best, authentic friends.
After graduating college, McKenzie experienced something many post-grads experience, the feeling of “where have all my friends gone?” She missed seeing people on the streets that she knew and seeing her roommates every night.
McKenzie talked about how hard it is to even start a conversation with strangers on the street because “9 times out of 10 they’re on their phones.”
We’re all guilty of it. McKenzie admitted that “my phone is the last thing I see before I go to bed and the first thing I see when I wake up.” Many of us spend hours of our lives with our eyes glued to a screen instead of the life in front of them (heck, we’re doing it right now).
“We’re all addicted to technology, but I don’t know if we’re doing anything about it,” McKenzie said.
In September, McKenzie and Nikki got together and decided to do something. They created the organization Unplugged Events in the hope of “creating revolutionary ways to connect in real life.”
Through events and activities, Unplugged Events hopes to connect people face-to-face without technology.
“I know we’re new, but I really think we can change people’s lives,” McKenzie said.
One of the events in which they hope to do that is later this summer at Camp Iwanabreak, a weekend summer camp for adults to unplug and connect.
“We want people to play,” McKenzie said. “We want them to realize you don’t need an app to be happy, you don’t need to post a status. Update your real-life happiness.”
Camp Iwanabreak is geared towards millennials to spend a weekend in Bagley, WI right on the Mississippi River, without any technology. They will spend a weekend hanging out in hammocks, playing capture the flag, eating s'mores, and most importantly, having face-to-face conversations and making real-life connections.
Unplugged Events is also planning on creating other events. Due to the fact that they’re a new organization, they’re still piloting a lot of ideas including dinner parties, different kinds of camps and working with big corporations to give their employees a way to unplug and connect.
“We hope to inspire people to live life with love, happiness and spontaneity instead of creating a perfect online persona,” McKenzie said.