If you're interested in disconnecting from the modern world and exploring the possibilities, A-GAP will show you the way. This is an interview with their Executive Director Bethany Baker, we hope it will tell you a little bit more about what they do and why they do it!
Q1: What was it that first interested you in A-GAP? How did you get involved?
Honestly, I wish I had the idea for A-GAP but the sole inspiration for A-GAP is Marygrace Sexon who is the founder and owner of A-GAP.
Marygrace also founded and started a thriving juice company based in Florida, USA with squeezed fresh juices called Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company over 30 years ago.
Natalie’s is now a thriving 80 million dollar company and as the company has continued to grow, technology has continued to increase. Marygrace started to notice a significant difference in her employees efficiency when phones became present at work and employees started getting distracted during the work day from social media.
She also noticed a shift in her personal life with not being able to leave work at work, which affected her personal interactions with her family where technology got in the way.
Q2: Did you struggle to unplug yourself? How do you spend your time offline?
I did struggle to unplug myself at first because I felt like there was always more to do, but when you unplug every month it starts to become a routine that you cherish and crave.
If I were by myself with no deadlines, unplugging would be one of my greatest joys but it seems like there is always unfinished work. That being said it is even more important to unplug when you have a lot going on because it helps you recover and come back to work and to others refreshed!
I spend my time offline when I am by myself reading, hiking, getting out in nature, meditating, journaling and reflecting. However, when I unplug with others I enjoy engaging in deep conversations about things that matter as well as playing physical games with family and friends. I strive to unplug every week so that I can continue to stay grounded and practice emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Q3: What is A-GAP's vision and how do you make a difference?
A-GAP aims to create space for those seeking quiet contemplation and spiritual rejuvenation. By removing technology and providing tools that limit digital distractions, our team guides individuals and groups towards a more intentional way of life.
Our goal is to facilitate growth, both personal and professional, foster clarity and community, and create space to deepen your spiritual journey. We challenge you to engage in healthy introspection. Explore creation with us, dig into your hidden creativity, and allow transformation to unfold. Our vision is rooted in the pillars of Clarity, Unity, and Simplicity.
We make a difference by helping people wake up from the fog that they are in by being constantly distracted by their phones and screens. A-GAP exists to equip people to implement healthy technology habits in order for their personal and professional lives to thrive.
We do this through technology-free experiences where we emphasize how to overcome the negative effects of overuse of technology and share how people can foster authentic uninterrupted community.
Q4: What advice would you give people who'd like to spend more time offline?
Do it!! Many times we overcomplicate spending time offline, but it is as simple as leaving your phone behind and engaging in the real world around you.
You can do whatever you like, but I would encourage you to have some prompts if you would like to. Be prepared going into this time, so that you can make the most of it and it will encourage you to continue prioritizing time offline because you have experienced the benefits.
This could be as simple as a hammock, book and journal. That is all I need when I go offline. Some people like going for a run without any headphones to clear their mind. Others do yoga and meditate. You have to find what works for you and be patient as you discover it because it may change during different seasons of your life.
Q5: What is your opinion on feature phones? Do you use one? Would you use one?
I first got introduced to the Mudita phone at the Electromagnetic Fields Conference in Santa Cruz, California in September of 2019 where I met Tiffany Horan, Mudita’s Engagement Manager.
After looking at the phones and what they do, but more importantly what they do NOT do I loved the concept and was excited for a chance to use one in the future. I appreciate the slider on the side that makes it easy to switch to different modes on the phone, whether you want to be accessible, on “do not disturb” mode or completely off-grid.
I would definitely use one and encourage others to use one, because it allows you to still be connected in case of an emergency but takes away all the negative distractions of our smartphones.
Q6: Where is your favourite place to switch off?
My favorite place to switch off is in the mountains when I am hiking! I live in Florida, USA currently and miss the mountains but travel north whenever I get the chance.
We also do many A-GAP Experiences near the mountains of the Southeast, including the Smoky Mountains. My favorite A-GAP Experience to this day was when we hiked 5 miles in Amicalola Falls State Park located in north Georgia, USA to a lodge in the National Forest called Len Foote Hike Inn, which is only a mile from the trailhead of the Appalachian Trail.
Not only was it a beautiful lodge with wonderful home made meals, but it was a gorgeous hike to and from the Inn that I would not have traded for anything.
Q7: Is there anything else you'd like to add, any links you'd like to share with us?
I want to thank you for reaching out to me for this interview. We love what you stand for at Mudita and are hoping to encourage more people to utilize the resources you work so hard to provide.
One of our goals at A-GAP is to empower people to use technology rather than letting it use us, which your phones accomplish so well! If anyone would like to learn more about A-GAP you can find it on our website: http://agap.life
You can also find A-GAP on Instagram at @agaplife and Facebook at AGAP.life.2018/. My personal Instagram account is bethany_baker_. You can also use the hashtags #createagap and #techfreefreedom to share your experiences.
Thank you again for giving me the opportunity to share, I look forward to talking again soon!
We’re so glad and incredibly grateful that Bethany agreed to share her experiences with us and we hope that more people will adopt and encourage a more offline way of life. If you’re interested in sharing your experiences with us or writing a guest post for us, send us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org!
To learn more about Mudita, take a look at our website and our other posts. If you enjoyed reading this interview, please share and recommend it! We need to be online to find people who’d like to spend more time offline.
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