I highly recommend a vacation off the grid.
Nearly every year since I was six, I have spent at least a week on a rustic family island in Maine. Dotted by five modest cabins, “The Island” is 30 acres of wooded wilderness. There is no running water, no electricity, no wi-fi. Instead we make daily trips to the spring, read by candlelight, and commune with nature.
It is blissfully quiet, but never boring. One can spend an hour watching a curious seal off shore or constructing a hedge hog from a pine cone and some moss. One can read, read, and read, or walk and walk over ancient rocks, through enchanting forests. The Island is a place for letting go, where one does not dwell in the past or obsess about the future (though, perhaps not surprisingly, moments of clarity often occur here). With no meetings or multi-media to distract you and pull you in too many directions at once, the Island fosters a centeredness that comes from being totally in the moment. Life was never so peaceful; a beer never tasted so good.
Once off the Island, I always hope I can maintain some of the same intentionality and “flow” I experienced there. But it is not realistic nor sustainable. Nor, admittedly, is it really who I am – at least not completely. In actual fact, I am one of those people who always takes on too much, who thrives on the society and energy of my busy life.
But as I get older, and as life throws more at me, the juggling act can become too overwhelming. Like the stones that we love to skip on the Island, I feel like I’m skimming the surface at a frenetic pace. More and more, I find that I need to make an island of myself. Carve out moments of absolute quiet. Let myself sink to the bottom. Dig deeper into the relationships closest to me – my husband and children – myself. So even if it’s just for a week per year, I need to go to the Island, switch off my phone, and just Be.