Travel Tuesday: Road Tripping in Airplane Mode

With the #yourlead van up in the data-less world of the Yukon Territory this felt like a rather appropriate topic! But don’t fret — you can still catch snippets of the van life excitement on the @yourlead_van Instagram feed whenever they snag a bit of WiFi. Everyone needs coffee + those glacier photos are a worthy use of the few minutes they get to snag cafe WiFi in the midst of the wild wilderness!

The #yourlead van has been on the road for just over two months now. It has bounced along lumpy mountain roads. It has strategically “camped” on city streets. It has floated along stretches of endless highway. It has ducked in + out of cell service for thousands of miles. I’ve been lucky enough to be behind the wheel for a heavy handful of those miles with my handy dandy T-Mobile powered cell phone plugged into the charger…leaving me with many, many hours of data-less exploring.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet + all of its conveniences but let me tell you — there is something insanely freeing about leaving your phone in airplane mode + forgetting about what you’re sharing with the rest of the world. Now, I do say “airplane mode” not “left in the car” because photos need to happen + I’m far too lazy to commandeer a fancy camera to snag snapshots of my trail-ventures.

Don’t believe me? Try it! Even if you have service, flip yourself over to airplane mode + wander about your backyard simply taking everything in without eyeballing IG-worthy shots or attempting to capture the sunset for Snapchat. Trust me, the rest of the world will survive! More importantly, you might have a Mother Nature moment you would have otherwise missed…ya don’t know until you try!

IMG_20160620_071813…mid run photos [ahem, breathers] are worth that extra nugget of technology in your pack pocket, no doubt!

That said, there are some parts of road tripping that make a data plan extremely handy to have. Whether you’re navigating your way into the wilderness to find a campsite using only GPS coordinates or telling your grandma all of the safe-enough-to-share-without-prompting-heart-failure stories…cell service has a place + time when you’re out on the road!

With travel + technology the hardest thing to do is find balance — when do you *need* your phone + when do you need to *ditch* your phone? Honestly, that’s all personal choice, but if you’re questioning the necessity of your phone on any adventure you should probably flip it into airplane mode + get yourself out there for yourself [not the internet world!].

DSC00504…okay, this needed to be documented, although the photos he took when he plunged under water didn’t capture his squacking gasps when he resurface or my uncontrollable giggles — ya had to be there for that!

Seriously tho, how do you find balance with technology when you’re out there exploring?

This isn’t a post meant to guilt you into leaving your phone on airplane mode when you’re out exploring or telling you to avoid social media — instead I want to give you an excuse to think about it + make a conscious decision about how much you need to have yourself available to work, friends, family or internet strangers. Food for thought, if you will.

Want more food for thought? Check out this post by Alastairs Humphreys — On Adventure and Story-telling. If you’re into the social sharing of your adventures this is an incredible post with a lot of thought-provoking moments. Read it, you’ll either have a “whoa” moment or you’ll feel really good about how you’re handling your social life!

And just in case you’re worried I’m hating on social sharing too much take a gander at this mountain-filled video — Running the Tour du Mont Blanc. It’s a montage of footage from Erin + Brian’s trip around Mont Blanc, footage that was taken for the primary purpose of sharing with the world + worth every minute, if you ask me.


  1. […] We’ve talked about this before…but, seriously. Ditch your phone! If you’re not actively using it to be rescued you really don’t need it while you’re out in the wilderness. Sure, it’s nice for photos but those aren’t *necessary*. Forget about IG double taps + Snapchat stories. Let your mind wander + focus on taking mental pictures in the moment rather than framing the perfect shot you may never actually share online. It’s simple, power down + embrace a digital-less trek just because you can! […]

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