For almost three full days last week, my world was devoid of all the sounds and signs of modern human life. No cars. No TV. No Internet.
Nothing but the wind whooshing through the trees. The crackle and pop of the wood stove. And the meditative whisper of our skis sliding against the snow when my husband and I left our backcountry yurt and ventured higher up into the mountains in search of powder turns.
We skied fresh powder each morning. Then, in the afternoons, we made food, and chopped wood, and read, and played Scrabble (I kicked his ass, as usual), and sat and stared out the single window at the snow falling. It was bliss.
Whenever I spend time—especially multiple days—away from civilization, I’m reminded of the power of disconnecting.
Maybe it’s growing up in Gen X that made the difference. I was a latchkey kid who spent summer days wading through city creeks filled with water moccasins and old shopping carts from morning until the streetlights came on. After dinner I went back out for flashlight tag until 11 o’clock at night.
I didn’t have a cell phone, or voicemail, or any kind of computer or Internet. My parents didn’t know where I was. Sure, Atari came out and I got addicted like any kid. For a while. But I always felt most at home outside in the woods.
It’s in that silence that I find myself. That I remember I’m a tiny flea. A speck on this planet. That in the grand scheme me and my problems are insignificant. Yet, at the same time, I am connected to something bigger and more powerful than myself. Those are the themes that run through my life—and my outdoor adventure romance novels. They ground me and keep me sane.
The Horrible Reconnect
Coming home to emails and social media and the latest horrible things in the news all conspire to steal away my peace and quiet and tranquility. It’s easier to overlook without the stark contrast of being unplugged for days.
I fight for it, though. Tooth and nail. Every single day.
I remind myself I need more long walks and hikes with my dogs. I plan more camping trips and more river trips and more mountain biking adventures. I put down the phone and walk away from the computer because I don’t need to be tied to those things to be happy. In fact, oftentimes being tied to them makes me less happy, not more.
So many people say they don’t like being outdoors. Or in the woods. Yet we too are animals who spent thousands of years living as a part of nature, not separate from it. We all need time outdoors. We all need to stare at trees or flowers or birds or bugs or streams and hear nothing but the wind riffling the leaves. The creak of branches. The caw of a crow.
We need a reminder that life isn’t lived on screens. It’s out there, outside the walls of your room or home or car. Go get you some.
Do you enjoy spending time unplugged in nature? If not, why not? If so, what’s your favorite way to enjoy the power of disconnecting and how often do you do it?