REALLY getting away from it all!

It’s hard to really “get away” these days. On a recent girls’ weekend, I found it difficult to turn off from my other life as a mum, worker, partner and finder of all things unfindable!  Damn you technology. I love and hate you all at once! I don’t know about you, but I struggle to ignore the phone when it beeps, signalling a facebook post, instagram pic, tweet, text, email, etc.  “Just turn off the phone,” my husband (and anti-social media campaigner) says.  “Yeah right,” I say.  “That’s not going to work with my FOMA (fear of missing out) complex.” “Well stop complaining that you never get any peace,” he says. I hate it when he makes sense!

On our recent Tasmanian Wilderness Experience this all changed. In the world heritage listed forests of south-west Tasmania, there is no mobile phone coverage, no WIFI, not even a television (well not at our Lodge anyway). We were essentially cut off and guess what? I loved it – well eventually!  Day one withdrawal was difficult.  I kept hearing the phone beep – I was sure. I’d scrounge around in my backpack and pull it out – but there was nothing.  I actually had Phantom Ringing Syndrome (yes, it’s a thing, look it up).  Once I was able to admit it, I was able to move on. By day four I didn’t want to turn the phone back on.

I felt like I had stepped back in time, to a slower, easier, simpler life. Families at our Lodge were reading books, playing board games, talking to each other (except the teenagers who were still moody and uncommunicative – but at least they weren’t hunched over their phones), listening to live music and chatting to others around them. There were no devices and no loud mobile talkers at the next table!  In this truly spectacular part of the world, we had time to really live in the moment, not be madly taking photos and then filtering and posting immediately.  It gave us time for leisurely conversations, wine and song with no interruptions – where are my googles? I have no clean undies! Where’s the peanut butter (yes,seriously my son was in our house in Queensland and I was in Melbourne at the time).  As we drove out of the forest on that last day and into mobile range, my anxiety rose with every phone beep and I knew this brief, old school, carefree encounter was over and that perhaps I needed to do something about my phone addiction.

One of my favourite things when I got home was sitting around telling stories about my experience and listening to what my family had been up to. Everyone’s usually seen the photos and commentary via social media before I get back, so there’s not much to tell and they’ve usually been in contact numerous times, so I know all their stories as well. I think they missed me a little more, and I missed them. My ten year old, who is not “too cool” to hug me in public yet, couldn’t sit close enough.  I might have overdone it with the endless pictures of mountains, waterfalls and lakes, but to their credit they sat through it!

I know social media, texting, email and the like are here to stay, but every now and then I think it is good for the soul to get away from all of it. Remember what is was like to leave work at work, let your kids/partner/friends work things out without you, and just live and be in the moment – reading the paper, having a coffee, going for a walk, admiring the wilderness of Tasmania, whatever your “me time”. You’ll love it – eventually!

Pauline

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