Join Erica Simas (@filmandpixel) and a small group of Instagrammers as they experience a weekend with cameras and no service.

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Sometimes you need to disconnect to reconnect. To just leave behind all of the mentions, retweets, DM’s, and posting…to go to a place where sharing is through voice, mannerisms, and real life lol’s.

It’s incredible how fast we forget to put down our connected cameras and really give our full attention to the moment in front of us. It often feels impossible to force this, without traveling to a place where your cell service can’t follow.

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Don’t get me wrong, being connected is a beautiful thing. I have made new friends with a shared passion for photography that I never would have met without social media. Instagram, in particular, is what brought everyone on this trip together and for that I am forever thankful. Even though we started our relationships online we accidentally took a disconnected, weekend trip together and rediscovered connection that had been lost along the way with likes, comments, and views.

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Most profound was trading cell service for campfires. Being disconnected we felt this shared relief in that the only concern we had was the people sitting around the fire. No thoughts about notifications or unanswered comments. Instead, we sat together playing games, making music, cooking, and telling stories. Our laughs carried through the forest instead of being muffled in front of our blue lighted screens.

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Second was the accomplishment shared through simple, outdoor living. Our tents and hammocks mere inches away from one another, instantly broke any awkward divide of hanging out in real life. While the adventures in finding wood, making fires, cooking, and breaking bread brought trust between us not accomplished through social media. Even the shared discomfort of sleeping on the hard ground with a pad, brought us closer together.

Unexpected, but the simplicity in surviving together made the conversations while shooting that much better. We all took turns photographing one another amidst the forest, fog, and mountain peaks. Taking photos of people you just met in person, always opens up a relationship.

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Although social photography brought us all together, it was a disconnected trip that really connected us. Personally it was a strong reminder that spending time with creatives who inspire me is much more rewarding than just double tapping on their feed.

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