As I have written, I was recently sequestered for a volunteer gig in Hell’s Canyon. This was a remote location with no electricity, cell or internet service, or anything like that. You can read my previous post to learn more.
This time I want to focus on something folks say to me all the time, “It must be so nice to just get away from it all!” In my previous life, I understood this concept. In fact, I literally RAN away from it all when I went on my camping trips in the forest hiking and exploring. I used my house to hide from “it” or “them” and probably drank too often as another way to “get away”. Yes, this notion I know quite well. Correction – knew quite well.
These days, I live “away from it all”. My life IS away, out of touch, mostly unplugged. I do not have a regular job or house or family or friends that stress me out. I do not have permanent neighbors to argue with or constant dogs barking at me. I do not have feelings of discontent and unrest. I am not tethered to my life or my stuff or my situation or….. anything. Not any more.
In short, I live in the “away” most folks talk about. Somebody in church the other day cited a study that reported our health to be improved with just three days per week in nature. LOL What about 7 days a week? What about 24 hours a day? Well, I do not have to wonder. I can tell you how good it is. I can tell you how you will relish in the fresh air, perk up at the new sounds, and raise your nose to the smells of the forest. Sure, there are the struggles of the heat and the cold and the dirt and the bugs. I buttress that with the breezes and the rivers and the sun and the stars. In my world, there is always a trade. That is because I do not believe perfection exists. I believe that any and all situations will have some aspect that challenges us, pushes us, that will not be sustained perfection. That begs the question of choice. If one, as I believe, cannot always live in perfection, what steps will one take to live most of their time in their ideal situation? How will we reconcile the impossible with the possible? How do we make the most of what we have? How are we whole?
I live most days without electricity, running water, or a solid structure over my head. I am OK with that. Overall, nothing horrible has happened. Nothing I could not and did not change or rectify or fix. I continue to choose this way of life. It suits me. It feels right. It feels natural. I do not feel like I am struggling, wrestling, fighting or grappling my days away. I do get bored and I am always mindful of money. I do get anxious when I move camp and then I relax when I find that next best spot. I get excited when I hear from friends and I love to explore and embrace a new town.
I live in the “away” and I like it. No, I am loving it! I have the autonomy I craved, the freedom I dreamed of and the ability to set my schedule as I always imagined. Or not. That is probably the best part. I can choose, and then choose again. I can NOT choose, and then choose, and then NOT choose again. Or, I can just not choose. You get the idea.
I do not need electricity every day. I do not need a shower every day. I do not need to be indoors when it rains. I do not need to buy in bulk. I do have to buy ice all the time and sometimes I smell and sometimes I get really dirty. Sometimes I sweat just sitting around and sometimes I don’t sleep well. But, and this is a huge BUT, this is all on my terms. I make these choices and I set the tone for the day and I choose what I will or will not do next and where I will or will not go. I make these rules in this place that is the away.
My life is “away from it all” and I like it.
Pilgrim, walk away from that which you do not love. Remember, too, Pilgrim, to run and jump with all your heart and soul into that which you do love. Let it consume your life.