Alaska. Remote. Wild. Unyielding. I will admit it. I’m terrified. But it’s not the threat of getting lost while exploring ice cliffs on the Kennicott Glacier that scares me. Nor is it the face-to-face encounter with grizzlies guaranteed by wildlife experts Michael and Dee Hughes. Even my debilitating fear of heights won’t stop me from boarding a tiny plane for a flight into the largest and most uninhabited state park in America – St. Elias National Park. My fright is not about what I might experience – it’s about what I won’t.

 
For close to two weeks I will be without my Microsoft Windows Phone when my husband Mike and I take a rare vacation break to travel north to Alaska. As a work-obsessed, always-on, drink-the-Kool-Aid, Microsoft Windows Phone junkie – I’m not sure going cold-turkey in Alaska is my wisest vacation decision. While my husband Mike can go for days without even a glance at email, it is rare for me to allow fifteen minutes to elapse without a scroll through Hotmail, a browse of the latest Hamilton Spectator headlines and a multi-task Skype call while shopping with my Grocery Gateway app. Even my lack of Social Media skills hasn’t stopped me from using the touch interface to hash-tag on Twitter #WPC2013 –  register now for #IAMCP Women in Technology  Lunch.
 
I used to have a tight relationship with my Blackberry. I’m Canadian – eh? There was a sense of national pride supporting one of our best technology success stories. But that was before Windows 8. Before I learned that I could manage every aspect of life with my Microsoft Windows Smart Phone.
 
With my phone I collaborate on drafts of documents saved on Skydrive. I’ve abandoned my reliable eReader for the Windows store Amazon.com app. Sleepless nights are enhanced by streaming old movies or online rounds of Yahtzee. Favourites are pinned to the sleek metro interface while live-tiles flash pictures – reminding me I have a family.
 
Our Alaskan destinations have advised that they are without “internet, cellular or even television services; for emergency situations, satellite phones can be rented.” Mike has wondered out loud if I will need to adopt a 12-step program to cope. (In case you wonder, it was his off-beat humour that attracted me when we were dating.)
 
I admit I am looking forward to some down-time. The last few weeks have been a blur getting ready for what I believe is the best conference available for partners – WPC2013. Rich with content – business leadership, professional strategy, technical learning, competitive insight and personal development – it fosters networking for partner-to-partner and partner-to-Microsoft business relationship-building. The International Association of Microsoft Partners are a big part of making the experience meaningful Attend WPC once and you’ll be hooked for life.
 
In the meantime, I’ve still got a little time left. Maybe I’ll pop in my earphones and listen to Lenny Kravitz – courtesy of course to the Windows Music Store and my Microsoft Windows Phone.
 
–Gail​