What would it be like to disconnect completely for seven days? Does that prospect scare you?
It has been seven days since I last opened my laptop. Seven days since I have looked at Facebook. Since I have sent a Snapchat. Received a text message. Wrote an e-mail. Heard the voice of a loved one. Seven days since I have touched solid ground.
It’s a bit like being reborn… Or at least reset. Reminded of what’s important. I write this with three more days left on this journey, and three more days of being off the grid. Am I looking forward to getting back online? I don’t know.
Think about it for a moment… Would you be?
Sailing is an exhilarating prospect. It sounds like good times sharing a cold brew with your crew, wind in your hair as you stand on the bow Titanic-style, and picturesque beaches on Caribbean islands to explore. I’ve done that kind of sailing before.
Sailing across open water is another beast.
We set off from Ft. Lauderdale more than a week ago. Once discussion of who was taking which night watch shift came up, I realized this was not the kind of sailing I had imagined. As I sat on the fly deck on my 3am-6am watch shift, looking up at the stars and out for passing ships in the night, I suddenly felt very isolated.
Seven days. And three more to go. So am I looking forward to getting back online? I won’t lie. I am. But I’m not thinking about my next Instagram post. Or my next Facebook update. Not the stack of e-mails that I’m expecting.
I’m thinking about reaching out to the people I care about. And that’s about it.
What I’ve learned in the past week is how important connection is. Not connection to the nearest available free WiFi. Friendships. Relationships. Family. That’s a big realization for me. Because I am a solitary person. I live alone, I travel alone, and I keep most people I meet at an arm’s length- because I’m leaving soon or because they are.
I’ve loved that lifestyle. It’s a big part of who I am and how I’ve grown these past few years. But as I sail closer to a phone signal, I am reminded that the relationships I ‘maintain’ via regular updates to my social media are really quite shallow. There is little effort put in on my part, and being so close and so connected and so distracted all the time has prevented me from seeing it.
What it took was seven days away from the world. Examining who I was, and what I wanted. Looking up at what seems like every star in the universe and feeling a few wily tears run down my face from the overwhelming solitude. The endless possibilities. The future unknowns. Seven days without the noise of every day life that allowed me to listen… To learn something about myself.
So as we sail the last 300 miles to the British Virgin Islands, I am jittery with nervous excitement. I can’t wait to pick up that phone, ignore the constant pinging of notifications and reach out to the people I care about. And tell them they matter and that I miss them. To start living this more authentic version of myself that values my relationships, and makes those connections a priority.
Would I do it again? Hell yes I would. Seven days with a crew of near-strangers on the Out Again has fostered some strong friendships. But if I could share this experience with a boat full of people that I love… I can hardly fathom the unbreakable bonds that would form. It would warm my heart to see people I care about experience deep realizations, and life-changing growth.
When we started Reset Retreat, we had just experienced something very similar. Though we weren’t completely disconnected from the world, we were far enough away from it to re-think our priorities. And while this has been the most extreme version of that, I am reminded that taking the time to get away is something that we should strive to do often.
It’s those moments of disconnection that create an environment where you can truly reconnect.
Would you do it?