Something I recalled after this past weekend's bachelor party was how much I enjoy changing pace. Backpacking through the woods for two days really simplifies one's daily routine. It also results in an unavoidable abstinence from distractions — of many kinds, but primarily digital. There is something not quite healthy about being perpetually reachable or able to immerse yourself into other people, places and things at any moment.
Hiking through the woods forces you to be rather of aware of your immediate surroundings, the only escape somewhere in your own head or via your immediate company. Sometimes it's just silence. And this part I treasure.
I'm not talking about the absence of all acoustic phenomena — something they tell me ain't so good for you — but the absence of interference and interjection. It's rich, and cool, and simultaneously comforting like a warm blanket in winter or a cool breeze coming through the window in the summer. It's a glass of water when you're thirsty. It's rest, play and eating all when you need those things.
There was no email, there was no phone reception, there was only the simple list we adhered to each day: walk, eat, rest, make camp, sleep. In some combination or series. It was exactly what we needed, no more no less.
Every single time I take time off and completely disconnect from the outside world I come back thinking it was the best idea I ever had. Something inside gets readjusted. By slowing down my pace for a few days (or ideally more) I come back to the heightened pace of everyday life with keener perspective. I question the things that bring me worry, bring me sorrow, frustration or otherwise add stress to my life. Sometimes we get so bogged-down in the minutia of our own lives we can't see past them; they swirl around our head, calling for our attention, each equally important, critical or otherwise demanding our attention. Standing in a maelstrom of many spinning plates.
And sometimes the best thing to do, when it moves so fast and we can't see the forest for the trees, is to take a slow walk through the woods.