Nearly four years ago, Cory, M, and I wandered the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The John Muir Trail was wild and rugged, quiet and vast. And it was far, far away from reality.
While hiking the 200+ miles of the JMT, we talked about how famous people could die, historical landmarks could collapse, nations could go to war … and we wouldn’t even know until we walked off the trail.
Being completely untethered — “off the grid,” as they say — is refreshing. I didn’t feel like I had to know what was going on. Being unable to “check in” was the excuse I needed not to do it. I felt free without electricity and wifi in the backcountry. For 12 days, it didn’t matter what happened in the world. It didn’t matter, and there was nothing I could do about it anyway.
Despite putting my body through difficult physical challenges — trekking up and down mountains, hauling a heavy backpack, exerting effort to cook, drink, and sleep — it felt stress-free. The weight of the world wasn’t on my shoulders; only my backpack was. I slept soundly. My brain drifted off into day dreams. I relaxed.
I have not been unplugged since we finished trekking the JMT. Not really. Even last summer, as we hiked 230+ miles on the Alpe-Adria Trail, I wasn’t actually off the grid. In fact, I carried my laptop every step of the way, logging in at night to work despite my exhaustion.
Owning my own business as I do, and being able to work remotely, is both a curse and a blessing. I’ve worked from beaches and mountaintops, from Morocco to the Cook Islands. But it also means I ever rarely take actual time off. I’m always “checking in.”
Well, the time has come to check out. Four years ago we ventured into the wilderness without electricity, wifi, or connection to the outside world. Next week, we’ll do it again.
Cory and I are heading out to spend a good portion of next week completely unplugged. We’ll be in the Middle Of Nowhere, Sweden, sleeping in a treehouse and free of electricity, wifi service, and connection to the outside world. My laptop is staying home. I packed my journal, a paperback book, and my camera instead.
I cringe at the buzzword “digital detox.” But let’s be honest: that’s what this is. We need a break. A break from work, from the noise, from the mental clutter, from the hum of the city, from the speed of life.
Four years ago, the weight of the world melted away. Next week, I’m hopeful it will do the same.