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