The Art of Unplugging

A week ago, I returned from an amazing vacation to Alaska. I spent eight days on the Nautilus Swell, a beautiful wooden dive boat converted from a 1912 tugboat. It was an amazing trip, exploring Alaska both above water as well as below. Alaska definitely gives you the feeling of being in the “final” frontier. The scenery is stunning and spectacular. The country is rugged with towns that are only reachable by air or water, with amazing wildlife, and large parts of it are unexplored.

The trip included watching crumbling glaciers, playing around and on icebergs, soaking in hot springs, observing feeding humpback whales, bald eagles, running salmon, and “surfing” Steller sea lions. Underwater the show continued: we saw prehistoric looking prow fish, lots of extremely colorful rockfish, basket stars with hundreds of small tentacles, playful Steller sea lions, impressive wrecks like the Princess Sophia and the State of California, and walls that are so covered with brightly colored corals, there isn’t a square inch you can touch without touching something that is alive.

Photo © Phil Sammet

At the start of this trip we were rather stressed due to work deadlines and more importantly because days before our departure we put in an offer to buy an apartment. We had a verbal agreement, but nothing solid on paper. So there we were, ready to step aboard the Nautilus Swell knowing we would be disconnected from the world for eight days. We knew for sure we would have no internet connection and, for most of the time, there would also be no cell reception.

It was interesting to experience how, when forced by the situation, we as human beings are able to unplug and because of that recharge. Being disconnected and experiencing the amazing vistas and wildlife encounters makes you ponder: Are the things we stress about really that important? So what if we do not get the apartment? So what if I miss that deadline? What is really important in life? For me, I realize, it is my family, friends and health. And it is taking the time to enjoy what this world has to offer us.

On our deathbed we don’t regret that we didn’t work hard enough, we regret all the things we didn’t do. It was very humbling to realize that the ice I was standing on was most likely hundreds of years old. It was there well before I was born and will be there (in the form of water) well after me.

In this super wired world, we all need to schedule time to unplug. How ever you choose to do it, either by traveling to a remote area in the world where the digital world simply cannot reach you, or by consciously unplugging all your devices (phones, computers, TVs, gameboys, iPads etc.) for a certain time period while sipping your favorite drink in your backyard.

It is unbelievable refreshing not to be connected to the world and honestly you really don’t miss that much. I can highly recommend it and hope you will try it. Trust me, you will not regret it! This trip made me realize that I am very thankful there are still parts in this world where we can peacefully unplug.

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