Last weekend I turned off my computer, shut down my BlackBerry and got out of the city for three whole days. That’s right. Three. Whole. Days. That’s three days without internet, email, text messages and a slew of other things on which most of us are dependent, on a regular basis. And it was pure bliss.
President Obama recently proclaimed September National Wilderness Month, stating that, “This month, we renew our pledge to build upon the legacy of our forebears. Together, we must ensure that future generations can experience the tranquility and grandeur of America’s natural places. As we resolve to meet this responsibility, let us also reflect on the ways in which our lives have been enriched by the gift of the American wilderness.”
How often do we take time to reflect on wilderness? In my job I spend a lot of time talking and writing about it, but when it comes right down to it, the time actually spent in wild places is minimal. Which is unfortunate, because spending time in the wilderness is not only good for you, it’s downright necessary, and it’s the one time that really reminds us why it’s important to ensure that these places don’t disappear.
Things that usually matter lose their importance – who cares what time it is! – and you’re given the chance to truly be in the moment, which might just be why Henry David Thoreau once said, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” It’s also the place where we find self preservation. That place that’s completely disconnected from the distractions of everyday life that keep us from focusing on what’s important.
There is simplicity in a routine that only requires you to focus on staying hydrated and fueled; a simplicity that is so easy to forget, but essential to our mental sanity.
So take National Wilderness Month as an inspiration to plan some time outdoors. An afternoon trail run, a weekend trip to the lake or a week road-trip exploring some National Parks; just use the time to remind yourself when you’re choosing to live a more balanced and conscious lifestyle. Turn the BlackBerry and internet time and take some time to just think, completely uninterrupted. I promise that it will do some good.
Images: Anna Brones