Get Unplugged: How To Survive In A World Temporarily Without Internet Access

One day or another you’re going to be stuck sans Internet. Maybe your computer crashed. Maybe you ran out of data on your phone. Maybe all of the anti-gay marriage opinions in France, America, the UK and the entire fucking world made you throw your computer at the wall. Maybe your cat decided that ethernet cables are delicious. Or maybe your roommate decided to pay off the grossly inflated bill with, “GO FUCK YOURSELF!” instead of a credit card number.

If you manage to uncurl yourself from the fetal position, you’ll be surprised at how liberating it feels when you can’t voice your frustration over Twitter or check how many Facebook friends feel your pain. If you’re off the information grid for just one evening you could just sleep your way through it, but if you have a few days or weeks ahead of you before the repairman can come, you gotta make do. Because fuck it, I’m not going to spend $30 for five days of internet.

So now that the snow’s melting, the internet’s dead and you’ve got a lot of free time on your hands go out and embrace it.You could make this your first foray into spring cleaning and a legitimate way to rekindle friendships that had been limited by MP and Wifi signals. Now would be a great time to start those procrasturbated projects because you still have to wait three days for Ms. April. So roll up your sleeves and get to work! When your options for the day are InternetC, there’s a lot of shit to do.

(If it weren’t glaringly obvious, this list will be relevant when you cannot access the Internet. So you should print off a copy and stash it in your zombie emergency survival kit and/or save it to your desktop if you don’t want to waste paper. You never know how strapped for ideas you might get once you can no longer Google them.)

Via Shutterstock

Cut the RED and the Blue wire. Via Shutterstock

Breathe. My neighbourhood’s lawns have transformed from ice slicks and snowbanks into honest to goodness grass. Sure, it may be matted and sickly, but matted and sickly straw is the first sign of spring! Break out your non-fur-lined sherpa boots and start frolicking damnit!

Do your laundry. There’s a 90% chance you have laundry to do. Even if your hamper (ie. floor) is empty, I’ll bet that your shower curtain and window treatments haven’t seen the inside of a washing machine since you moved in. Throw them in the wash and behold their dust and mildew-free glory. Your allergies will thank you.

Purge your wardrobe. Stash away your seasonably inappropriate clothing and vet your wardrobe for things you haven’t worn in a year. Take a few extra minutes to decide if you really will wear your plaid horse blanket parka in the public next winter. When it comes to tossables, prepare a donation bag, head down to a consignment store or ask your friends to come over for a wine-fueled clothing swap. Just make sure to not spill on your “new” duds.


ROYGBIV that shit via Threads Thoughts Things

Tetris your fridge. Go through your chill chest and remove anything that’s fuzzier, furrier or livelier than its initial introduction to your ecosystem. If you can’t recognize it with your eyes, you certainly won’t recognize it with your mouth. Consolidate sauces and pickles into smaller containers that let you properly close the doory. While you’re at it, go over the entire interior with a soapy sponge to get rid of those freeze dried kale crumbs.

Bathroom duty. Toss all of the half-mummified hair products and any expired meds. Throw your bathmat and the aforementioned shower curtain into your washer. Clean your tub and your toilet while you’re at it. And use a clotheshanger, paperclip or Fork That Will Never Touch Your Lips Again to remove the Clog Monster from your shower drain.

Put on your tool belt. Head to Homo Depot and get the supplies for those projects you’ve been putting off. Hooks for your pot lids? A new coat of paint? A dimmer for your boudoir? A wrench to fix your dripping sink? A “free” calendar? A shitton of lumber and veneer just because? The magical land of Dremels and orange aprons will bring comfort when the internet can’t. Plus you’ll score ten points on the Dyke Test!

I figure toolbelt strapons will be the next innovation via DaddyTypes

I figure toolbelt strapons will be the next innovation via DaddyTypes

Repot your plants. You know which one I’m talking about! The one that’s escaping its pot and making its way for your window? The one that’s choking on itself so you can’t tell where branches start and the roots end? Pretend it’s a hermit crab and upgrade it’s tiny terracotta shell for something bigger. Might as well start sprouting some seedling friends while you’re at it.

Let out your Martha. If you’re anything like me, you bookmark and pin a shitton of clever crafts but never get around to making them since you’re too busy finding new tutorials. Sadly my computer’s “DIY” function hasn’t been created yet, so surprisingly a folder full of floating shelf instructables has no visible effect on my living room. Print off instructions on how to make a thing or own a new trend and actually do them.

Make your real memories. If you spend half of your day chronicling your life through Instagram, why not have something? Head on down to Ye Olde Photo Shop and get some photos developed and scrapbook that shit if you are so inclined. Vanessa’ll have some recommendations.

Instagram DIY Magnets. It's like hitting two birds with one magnetic stone. via Yennipe

Instagram DIY Magnets. It’s like hitting two birds with one magnetic stone. via Yenniper

Start your Halloween costume. It is never too early to start your Halloween costume.

Spruce up your résumé. The semester’s going to wind down soon, so make sure you have a leg up on your classmates for summer job hunting. As a bonus, if you manage to get your CV proofed and printed by exam week, you can always pretend that sending out job applications is productive procrastination.

Do your taxes. No jokes here, just do them. You have 18 days (or 33 in Canada).

Put pen to paper. Whether you’re chronicling your internetless activities, writing a novel, practicing your arithmetic or writing a shopping list, work on your penmanship! Even though you haven’t practiced cursive since you were ten, you’ll need to keep your chicken scratches legible so you can write a check or give a cute l’il dyke your deets. ||||||| is not a phone number.

PROTIP: Writing in yellow won't help your legibility. via David Killock

PROTIP: Writing in yellow won’t help your legibility. via David Killock

Send out some cards. Speaking of cursive, write out a few cards, letters or postcards! Even if they live down the street, everyone loves getting non-money-demanding mail. Trust me, you can send out your Christmas cards three months late (cough) and it’ll still brighten their day.

Head on down to a Real Bar (or coffee shop or dance or co-op). If you recognize someone from your last Oh Gay Cupid hunt, down some bravery and talk to them without the comfort of a twenty minute delay. Just because you’re only a 45% match doesn’t mean you won’t get along in the real world. And hey, if she stalked you just back, she already knows you’re on the prowl and aren’t simply asking for the time! If you really miss your screen, you can try standing on either side of a doorway for a frame.

Talk to your friends without GChat. Unless you have a border or a stormcloud between you, there’s no excuse not to catch up with an old friend over coffee. I recommend bringing a travel board game or a deck of cards in case you forget how to interact in real life. Just make sure to hide your digitial devices so you actually talk.

It wants to be your friend via Summer Park

It wants to be your friend via Summer Park

Set up a weekly thing. Have your initial edition of a weekly board game night. I am 80% sure your local Sally Ann or Village of Value has a bunch of board games just aching to be played with. If you’re missing a few pieces or have a bunch of redundant boards, suddenly you have the impetus to create your own! Like BalderScrabs:  the voting-based Scrabble spinoff where normal words count but portmanteaux and puns count for more!

Learn something. Take a friend with you and use this as an opportunity to sign up for a class you’ve been meaning to take all year. It probably seems like one hour a week would be way too much of a committment, but when you reallocate the hour you’d normally spend on Reddit, it’s easy! Take the opportunity to learn yoga, first aid, pottery or cunnilingus. You do you.

Go play a sport. If by “play” I mean watch. Roller derby season started up around February so all of the green teams have a few games under their belt to make it a real show. Grab some friends and head down to your flat track for a few bouts and beeramids.

How could you resist those socks? Via My Derby Adventure

How could you resist those socks? My Derby Adventure

Call your Ma. Also your pa and your grandparents since they’re telling each other that you never call.

So what do you do when you end up disconnected? Go out and explore, but come back and tell us what you found. I promise the net will still be full of kittens and boobs when you return.

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Hailing from Vancouver, Kristen's still trying to figure out how to survive Montreal's Real Legitimate Canadian Winter. So far she's discovered that warm socks, giant toques and Tabby kittens all play a role in her survival. Her ultimate goal is to rank higher than KStew in the "Kristen + Autostraddle" Google Search competition.

Kristen has written 139 articles for us.


  1. My net went down last week for exactly the amount of time it took for me to clean my flat, it worked out well for everyone.

  2. Head to your local library. Books were basically the internet before the internet existed.

    Also, librarians.

  3. I haven’t sworn off the internet entirely yet, but I’ve started only going on Facebook and Twitter on weekends. I had no idea how much of my time just those two sites were taking up until I wasn’t going to them.

  4. Thanks for these suggestions! My internet is fine but I’m planning to unplug from the grid for awhile as part of a month long health detox. I’m gonna miss NSFW Sundays but I will power through, lol. My goal is to slowly introduce the internet back into my life but limit it to 60-90 minutes a day.

  5. last week my phone broke and so i had to go a couple of days without being instantly connected to everything. it was weird. while i was in the apple store waiting for them to take a look, i kept checking my pocket for my phone to see what time it was, or to text a friend because i was bored, or to check my email because i was bored. it’s like i literally don’t know what to do if i am not “connected”, and i’m not even a person who really cares about what’s happening on facebook. it’s just a habit, something to read when i have a couple of minutes to spare. but also maybe if i carried a book around i could read that instead.

    (which is one thing you’re missing on your list, btw, is read a book for funsies! a book made out of paper! read it at the park, in the sun!)

    while i currently need internet to get through this last month of school, i’m hoping that when summer comes around i can turn off my computer for a few days and do some of these things.


  6. The Verge(a tech site) has a journalist who has plans to spend year off the internet and sans a phone with modern conveniences. Been nearly a since since he started and it sounds a bit brutal how trying to certain things task these days can be without the internet. In moderation getting of the internet is a great idea, but to totally get off the internet for a long while seems a bit rough.

    • That should have said nearly been a year since he started being off the internet. Should also add his articles(that co-workers post for him) will become a book.

      Really would like to see the ability to edit comments…

      • Awesome. Some of my favourite writing has been authors that abstained from everyday things, from Walmart to things manufactured in China. It’s ridiculous how dependant we’ve become on technology and services that weren’t around 20 years ago

        • It is, but he has also proved that without technology a lot of things can’t get done any more, or become really inconvenient. Plus, he also isn’t using SMS and just uses his phone for calling, which really makes even harder, specially for a guy who makes a living being an actual tech journalist. Check his work out at the The Verge if you are more interested, his name is Paul Miller.

    • For a moment I thought you were my gf Anna that happened to fix my dripping sink with a wrench from homo depot. As it turns out this is NOT the case. Which is more hilarious

  7. When I first moved into my house we didn’t have internet for the first 2 weeks. At first I had painful withdrawal and attempted to steal some from my neighbours haha. But it was actually nice after a while. I read a lot of books, watched movies, went outside! So maybe this summer I’ll give it a go.

    I can’t go without my phone though…its too hard to get in touch with people otherwise.

  8. These are also good suggestions for someone in a long distance relationship who spends ungodly amounts of time glued to the computer (me).

  9. How many photo kiosks or print shops can really print pictures directly of your phone? I haven’t anywhere that can, unless you email it to them, or if your phone supports it, transfer it to memory card and then go from there. On the other hand photo from a camera would be easy.

  10. I <3 board games evenings. I recently went to a giant board games evening, where they had giant/people-sized Jenga, Connect Four, Scrabble etc. Nerdy board games thread? Y/MFY? :D

  11. The last time my internet went down and I was bored out of my head, I took $10 and went to the dollar store. I ended up making an advent calendar of sorts (or whatever the hell you’d call one for February) for my mother out of 4 7-day pill boxes stacked on top of each other, filled with little candies and notes I wrote her, decorated with stickers and painted with nail polish. That was really fun, actually!

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