As a Wanderlust Warrior who has traveled far from my home state of California to the likes of Vermont for the magic that is Wanderlust, a trip across the Canadian border for Wanderlust Whistler did not seem like a huge feat. My first adventure after arriving in Vancouver was an amazing drive through the beautiful scenery I would soon be inundated with once finally arriving at the Mountain. I went to send a picture that would incite jealousy from my friends, who were still at home day dreaming of joining me for mountain-high meditations, acro-yoga activities, and all night dance parties. That is when I realized my US phone had other plans for my level of Canadian connectivity. This story follows me, a hyper connected yogi, through a weekend of unexpected digital detox.
At first my detachment from my phone felt like a burden. How would I get my access to my Wanderlust app? Would my friends miss my daily dose of snapchat selfies? What if I missed an important work email or call?
Then I recalled a book I recently read, Thrive by Arianna Huffington, and tapped into her plea to renounce our dependency on devices. She encourages detaching to reap benefits such as better sleep, closer personal relationships, deep creative thinking, and decreased stress levels.
So I set off on my biggest Wanderlust adventure: freedom from technology, and a sole reliance on my intuition, journal, flexible attitude, and Wanderlust spirit.
Leaving my phone with my other belongings, I set out with my yoga mat and a journal. The mountain, my mat and a whole bunch of new friends await me, as I embarked on the first of many scheduled activities.
I reached for my phantom phone to find out where my first session was located. The action of reaching for our phone, listening for a ring, or feeling a vibration signals to our brain a brief moment of stress and urgency. These actions are so ingrained, that I use the word phantom to depict a very familiar feeling when you reach for your phone thinking you heard a text come through only to realize you imagined the sound. As a connected culture, we have become addicted to devices, whether it is our phone, computer, tablet or TV.
I may have deviated from my schedule during my digital detox, but the moments that ensued were both special and spontaneous, and I felt myself regaining a sense of adventure. Something so natural to traveling to a new place was unspoiled by technology and enhanced by the discovery and exploration I forced myself to pursue. Though I may have missed my favorite teacher’s morning yoga flow, I stumbled into an amazing speakeasy talk, changed my perspective in suspension yoga, and took the glass bottom peak to peak gondola, meditating on the sights of nature all around me.
Here are my lessons learned about making the most of your time away from commitments and emails and in turn harnessing the power of being fully present in every movement and interaction:
Embrace your disconnect in nature
My favorite part of my entire day without technology was a hike I joined at the end of my long day. At 6pm, a bunch of Wanderlusters followed Hannah Thiem / HANNAH, a beautiful soul, fairy and violinist into the forest for a meditation and private concert. HANNAH lead us to a beautiful grassy knoll beside the lake and proceeded to entrance us in her violin improvisations. My meditation quickly turned into deep relaxation as I let the effects of my day sink in.
In this moment some words from Eoin Finn, a self-proclaim blissologist, came to mind, “What if we didn’t have to pursue happiness, what if we just have to slow down enough for it to catch up with us.”
After a full day of self-exploration, being alone in nature with my thoughts and fellow yogis, I had finally let happiness catch up to me. Getting lost on the way back from our hike adventure was the icing on the cake. I shared stories with a new friend that instantly bonded us in a moment where I would have normally reached for my phone for guidance. I encourage you to seek nature as a sanctuary when the chaos of our busy world becomes too much.
Make it Count
While I wish it were more realistic for me to digitally detach on a more frequent basis, I am thankful for the moments and days where I can get away with it. Full days of no phone do not fit into my day-to-day life, but I can commit to shutting down in the evening and when I first wake up.
When you embark on a digital detox, make it count. Do not harangue your hubby for a peek at Instagram, or ask your neighbor to call in a reservation. Accept that in the time you take off, everything will happen for a reason, guiding you on your intended path in that moment. Effectively disconnecting will allow you to realize the full benefits of being technology free. Do not feel a sense of failure if you quickly fall back into old patterns with your phone. Simply be aware of your dependence and make it count when you do have the moments away.
Let your creative juices flow
Whether your passion is journaling, movement, music, or any other creative endeavor, take this time to reconnect with your talent. In my time off, I took to journaling about all of my inspirations of the weekend. At Wanderlust there is a lot to be inspired by, and I know I caught more of this because I tuned into my surroundings and tuned out of the digital world. When you go phone free, an easy replacement for your device is a journal. Anything you may have wanted to search for or write down in your phone, take note. Meditate on thoughts that recur throughout the day and embrace the creativity they have inspired.
While initially my forced disconnection seemed inconvenient, my digital detox afforded a sense of connectedness I had never experienced. I made more meaningful relationships, reflected on recurring thoughts, lost track of time, and reconnected with that natural beauty of Whistler. Join me in pledging time to disconnect whether on a daily or weekly basis. Use this time to tap into your intuition, creativity, and relationships and watch each thrive as you arrive consciously in every disconnected moment.
Cameron Cler began practicing yoga to elevate her flexibility and endurance for ballet, but soon the physical practice became like a way of life, complete with spiritual growth, mental flexibility and emotional acceptance. Now, the financial consultant and constant traveler is also a registered yoga teacher in San Francisco, who channels her inner yogi to mitigate the stress of working in the corporate world and of life in general. Her passion is cultivating wellness and sharing travel stories, yoga poses, healthy recipes, wellness apps, good books and restaurant recommendations with her friends, family and students.