Our world has changed quite a bit in the last 10 years; always connected phones, tweets, Facebook status updates, digital maps for when we get lost, free music 24 hours a day streamed through our mobile phone. Sometimes it takes unplugging and detaching from our devices for a few days to realize how far we have progressed.
I am connected and on from the moment I open my eyes each day until the minute I fall asleep. Every day I read and write on this laptop. Every day I listen to music through my “phone” (imagine saying that sentence 10 or 20 years ago). I also us my phone for messaging friends, browse online and shop and pay for things. Using technology has become an integral part of my life, as I assume it has in yours.
I recently took a weekend backpacking trip with a few good friends in the mountains of Washington State (about 2 hours east of Seattle). It was awesome. Getting out in nature sans any electronics and internet connected device is so rare today I think most don’t even realize how great it is when you get out into the country for a short time. Nature has now become the exception, not the rule. This though started to brew this last weekend. Below are a few thoughts I picked up as we trekked through the mountains.
We use our tech devices for EVERYTHING
Looking for directions, location information, talking, messaging, searching for information, taking pictures, sharing pictures, planning ahead, making a list, reading an article, updating on news, killing time when we are bored, and many more… Wow, it doesn’t become so obvious until you don’t have your internet connected device on you – we are a constantly connected society that fully depends on the internet to function. We actually can live and function without them.
Life is more peaceful without constant interruption
In fact, with my phone disconnected and turned off, I did not have distraction or interruption to take me away from the moment. Think about it for a second, the mere fact that you have an informational device on you capable of so many different things is in itself a distraction. You can grab it anytime to check and see if someone has text or called you. You can bring up a little game you have been playing to kill 5 minutes while you wait for someone.
These little mental”recesses” take you away from the moment you are in currently, and I would argue this is one of the reasons more people are stressed out, short fused and possibly feeling like they are going crazy. The brain has no time to take in the moment, uninterrupted. Being in the wilderness even for 72 hours helped me get some of this peacefulness back.
Your body needs to be physically challenged
With technology advancing so rapidly, it seems we continue to develop applications that do for us what we used to do physically. This is not the best situation for us, as a species. No one will argue we are getting larger as a society, as well as less healthy and more lazy. Getting out on the trail, putting 40 pounds on your back, hiking up a mountain, burning some calories in the process all help you maintain proper physical fitness. It felt great. I will never lose my physical ability to run, hike, swim and play as children do. I believe that is what life is all about.
Sometimes we need to unplug and bring ourselves back to how life was meant to be experienced – naturally.Follow @jnickhughes
Great minds think alike, Nick. 😉
I’m always on a device but for good reason. I plan to develop my business for the next four-five years, sell it and backpack around the world, drive on the nurburgring, do adventure racing. Basically follow my dreams. I know it won’t be easy to get there but the rewards are worth it.
Always a good idea to unplug and refresh yourself during the long journey. Sounds like you got a great plan in place.
Thanks for the call to unplug occasionally! That definitely seems to be the theme I’ve seen lately. I started off trying to be completely plugged in to all the different online outlets for my business and determined I really didn’t have to be doing everything online I’m supposedly supposed to do.
I found myself feeling the same things during a seven-day cruise I was on a couple of weeks ago. No laptop, no phone – it was truly liberating! Just good ole fashioned pen and paper to jot down thoughts.
It’s become my first instinct to reach for my iPhone the instant I find myself without anything to do. Along with that habit comes the added stress of wondering which email accounts will have new messages, how far behind I am on twitter, who may have texted or called me, etc. It’s so satisfying to occasionally just shut the thing off and say “I’m going to deal with that later.”
The one electronic I DID have glued to me the whole week was my Kindle, and it was wonderful. I can’t even remember the last time I read three novels in seven days.
Unplugged = good for creative minds.
Gotta agree with you, Nick. My wife, 16-year-old son, and I are going to Colorado next week to hike and do white-water rafting. Looking forward to the break.
We do a lot of bike-riding and other physical activities. They definitely help keep my emotionally and physically at peace.
I can definitely relate to grabbing the phone every time I have a free second.
I think all this stuff is great, but it definitely makes my ADD worse! 😉
Thanks for the read.