Disconnecting from our devices and reconnecting with nature in Algonquin Park
September 11, 2017
I was up in Algonquin Park last week for five days paddling, portaging, building fires for meals and warmth, setting up tents and tarps in hopes we don’t get rained on. Enjoyed beautiful sunrises, sunsets and the gorgeous greenery all day long. It was a peaceful five days for reconnecting with nature and myself.
During this trip I had zero access to reception or internet. At first it felt very strange without my phone. The habit of checking, the awkward silences we can’t sit through so we mindlessly scroll through whichever social media platform until there is something to talk about again. Up there that’s not an option and I can’t tell you how liberating it feels. To sit in the quiet and to be surrounded by all the beauty was so peaceful.
People have asked me why I like camping/portaging trips - aside from the obvious beauty of the outdoors. It’s a reminder of how simple things could be, and in that simplicity, how happy we can be. It’s back to the basics. Spending your days making sure you have wood for fire, clean drinking water and a safe place to sleep. There aren’t the distractions of everyday life forcing you to be present in the moment.
We live on our phones - actually our phones run our lives. We respond instantly to when it lights up. We get anxious when it doesn’t. If the battery is dying, we desperately look for a charger as if it’s our own life ending.
It scares me; this lack of independence. After this trip, it is my goal to make a conscious effort to spend less time on my phone. Schedule time for when I post and check social media. If I’m out for dinner, I’ll leave my phone in my purse and when I’m going to bed, I’ll pick up a book rather than my phone.
This trip wasn’t just about being off my phone. It was also about reconnecting with nature and spending time in the peace and quiet. Enjoying the simple things like sunsets and waking up with the sun. Fresh air that energizes you. Only keeping with you what you need and not the extras. This trip eliminates all the distractions. I want to figure out a way to implement all of these wonderful things from the trip into my life in the city.
I enjoy these trips because they act as a reminder to appreciate the little things. To be grateful for all the wonderful things we have. To know the world won’t end if we turn our phones off for a few hours and enjoy the company of those who are present with us.
In our world that is at such a fast pace with its constant connection to one another we are always on the go, always learning new information, we are always on. We really need time to unplug and disconnect from all of this commotion.
For myself using weekends away like this are a chance to recharge and to help put things back into perspective. When I returned from this last trip I now find myself spending less time on my phone and a bigger appreciation for the little things. So give it a try, turn off your phone for a little bit everyday, spend that alone time and appreciate what’s around you.