Un-plugging has proven one of the most uncomfortable yet gratifying aspects of the journey thus far. Out the gate I thought I had a pretty solid grasp on the extent of my internet dependency. I thought to myself (after officially suspending my service with AT&T via landline) yeah, it's gonna be weird but I can totally handle it...and anyway I can't wait for an excuse to avoid my email! It turns out, I had NO CLUE how hard it would be, how acutely I would feel the effects of WiFi withdrawal.
It took more than a week before I could wake up in the morning and successfully overcome the urge to immediately reach for my phone. Another couple weeks went by before I could shake that constant, gnawing feeling like something was missing. And believe you me, I went looking for it! But much like scavenging for the only set of misplaced car keys, the harder and longer I searched for reliable 'nets the more anxious and immobilized I felt. Eventually (somewhere in rural Colombia I think) I surrendered to this connectivity dead end only to realize that actually it was an open door.
That's not to say I've been entirely cut off. I have managed to stay afloat on Instagram, check email every few days, and even get this blog up and running (with a lot more delay than anticipated!). And I'll admit, when I enter a WiFi zone I'm practically Michael Phelps at an all-you-can-eat buffet—my heart rate picks up and my mouth starts to water as I'm re-upping on Sochi stats and friends' status updates. No doubt, when I return to real life I will eagerly get reacquainted with my apps, my blogs, my e-news routine, and at least a dozen different Google toys. But that said, there will be limits set and new rules in place to preserve this golden awareness, this privileged sense of time, space, colors, smells, the breeze, the light, the moon.
Separation from my devices (and the boundless black hole that is the internet) has allowed me to be more present than I've been in years. Not only when I'm with other people, but also when I'm alone with myself. Getting lost in a new city has become part of the learning curve rather than a preventable annoyance. Social media has become a daily habit rather than an hourly fix. I am squinting less, sleeping better and generally feeling more at peace.
But by far the best reward accompanying my off-the-grid status has been the otherworldly, inconceivably pure time I have spent in nature. I know it sounds all too cliche coming from a city slicker like myself, but nothing could be more true. Hopefully these photos capture some of the beauty I've been so blessed to take in - from the jurassic jungles of Costa Rica, to the protected beaches of Tayrona National Park in Colombia, to the cloud scraping crags of the Andes.