Living in a Bubble
I live in a world of connectivity, communication, and almost non-stop input from a mobile device. Email, WhatsApp, SMS messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, podcasts, phone calls, television, radio, news, you name it, it is part of my daily data diet. For the last week, I have been far away from the connected world and all these inputs. I spent my days running along the most beautiful and pristine coastline in the world. My days were filled with activities that were much more engaging and rewarding than anything that could come from my mobile device. Now that I have arrived back in the real world, I am thinking about how I want to engage differently with this medium.
After this week’s detox diet of no online content, only awesome sea views, and making new friends, I feel remarkably free. My brain feels less cluttered and more at ease. Perhaps this is the feeling of less stress or simply the benefit of a “holiday”. However, little rest was going on during my week of remoteness. I ran 150 km this week and pushed my body a lot further than I have in a long time.
My week of living in a bubble away from the “real” world was an eye-opening and learning experience about my body’s basic energy needs. Each day I ran my “battery” down from full to empty. I ran for between 3 and 5 hours per day for four days, and I discovered that my body operates very similar to a mobile device. Watching the battery level decline and then drop below that 20% level is stressful. Like the phone, my body can keep going, but I am thinking about preserving as much energy as possible. While running, I nibbled at bits and pieces to keep the energy levels topped so as not to completely run out of juice before the daily finish line. By the time the running expedition for each day came to an end, my battery was at the 5% level. Nearly flat and in need of recharging. The recharging was more like a refuelling. I named it “feeding the machine”.
Feeding the machine is what it says. It involves getting as many calories into the system as fast as possible. This includes rehydration mixtures, sugar, and my all-time favourite post-run hamburger and chips. This is closely followed by beer and then sleep. A refuelling process is best done while hearing the stories and adventures of fellow runners. Some hearty laughter at their expenses is also required. Rinse and repeat for several days, and you have the making of an epic running adventure.
I am aware of the conscious choice I made to participate in extraordinary activities during this week of adventure that meant I did not need my usual diet of online content. My choice of activities required me to engage with the world as our ancestors might have, long before we started staring at a mobile device. Eat, sleep, hunt (in this case run), socialise, repeat — a very simple way of living and very rewarding.
My real learning here is that I can survive just fine, in fact, way better without the constant intake of social media, news and other related data. Here is to a better data diet back in the real world.