Take Me Away(from wi-fi)
It was time to reset. With no real agenda to hold us accountable.
The strangest of weather unfolded as we made our way for the west coast. The morning, holding true to Ireland, began with rain. But I later awoke to crystalized tree tops and the hills tucked in with a light blanket of snow – something that struck me as unusual for Ireland. Upon reaching Dingle, the only town on the Dingle Peninsula, the sun began to break apart the stubborn clouds. But stubbornness usually has its way of prevailing, and the clouds unleashed a cold, hailing rain. To avoid the icy harassment, and keeping with Irish style, we dipped into the nearest pub.
I’ve been told Americans tend to over-romanticize Ireland. But in our defense, they are doing little to help their case.
If the winding and narrow streets of Ireland are the veins, the pub is its heart. They are structured with old wood and cozy sitting corners, with dark, mellow lighting accompanied by dancing flames of candle-lit whiskey bottles standing in for candelabras. My favorite one - a combination of a hardware store by day, a pub by night.
Now this is not to say that everyone in Ireland drinks and or to suggest that they are constantly doing so. But instead it’s a form of gathering, a form of community. They talk to each other. Or they sit there in silence with each other and that’s okay too. It was easily deduced upon entering the threshold, that many of the patrons knew one another or perhaps were even life long friends. Pull out your cell phone and you were likely to meet the door. The best of the pubs were sans televisions. This allowed us a weekend free from the screens, free from the constant rush of news and data.
When a seemingly long January finally came to a close, we had already witnessed a bizarre inauguration, marches around the world for women’s rights, and the aftermath following a quick stroke of a pen that banned immigration. And that’s only the first month of the year.
It’s been a whirlwind on both sides of the Atlantic. I am sure you likely share my sentiments when I say I’m stressed. Every time I scroll my news sources, the anxiety heightens. There is shock with almost every headline. For two short days, I just needed a little corner of happiness. Or in this case, a little peninsula.
A change in scenery does the mind some good. And placing yourself where wi-fi is unlikely to be found, is an added bonus. I challenge you to a digital detox too. An interesting study where a group was disconnected from technology in the Moroccan desert showed that disconnecting resulted in better sleep, improved memory, deeper relationships, new perspectives, and even better posture.
A break from technology and the news does not mean you’re turning a blind eye to what is currently happening in the world. It’s a way of showing love to yourself. Because if we want to be the change we want to see in the world, we are going to need our strength and resilience, beginning with a fresh mindset. And while it doesn't hurt, you don't have to go to Dingle or Morocco to get started.
Malinda Meadows is an Ohio native who was letting grief blanket her life.
She found healing through traveling and nature. She discovered changes of location led to changes in her mindset. It helped her process grief and forge a new path with greater optimism and happiness. Realizing the benefit of deliberate change, she now leads a more balanced and mindful life inspired by simple changes.
She blogs regularly at malindainthesnow.com to help others find change, however small, outside their box in order to live a happier, healthier life.