Hello Hal.


Image: Shimi Cohen, from “The Innovation of Loneliness”


This is a post about panic. And technology. And being connected, over-connected, and disconnected. And resolutions. And living in the present (well, trying to live in the present).

I was fortunate enough to spend 10 days riding my bike in the Florida Keys (for the second time!) This time I was determined to be totally present and not succumb to the desire to document every moment. I wasn’t checking my email, I wasn’t on Facebook (much), I wasn’t texting…I thought I was doing great.

Until I camped on the deserted island.

Dry Tortugas National Park is a 100-square mile park in the Gulf of Mexico, almost 70 miles west of Key West (it’s mostly water). It’s home to Fort Jefferson, the largest all-masonry fort in the United States and is accessible only by boat or seaplane. That is to say: There’s no cell service.

The island is beautiful. The fort has an actual moat with an actual crocodile. The water is turquoise, cobalt, indigo, cerulean, azure.  There were less than ten people camping on the island that night.

What an unbelievable privilege.

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Yet, as soon as the boat left at 3pm, I panicked. What was I going to do on this island for 24 hours? I had good friends, a good book, a bathing suit, a bottle of whiskey, and I was surrounded by breathtaking scenery, yet I was genuinely panicked at being disconnected.

So I took a nap.

I woke up around twilight. I walked around the moat while the sun was setting.  The 140-year old bricks were lavender in the filtered light, the water looked like glass, and I was alone.  I resisted the urge to record. Instead I reveled in the quiet. I walked over two miles in the dimming light and let myself be completely in the moment.  It is one of the best memories of my life.

There are no photographs.

I went back to camp and drank a bottle of whiskey with people I love IRL. I experienced relentless howling wind and wet socks and a huge bright moon and swimming on my own private beach and poking at hermit crabs and crocodile hunting: all without Facebook or Instagram or email or endless text messages.

I want to resolve to have more moments like that in 2015. When I ride my bike or read or simply daydream, my phone is going to be somewhere else. I’m no longer available 24 hours a day. I’m done with technology making me feel lonely and disconnected.

I’m not the only one. Read more here. Read this book, it’s good. Watch this video, too.

And at least put your d**m phone away while you eat dinner.




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7 responses to “Hello Hal.

  1. Reblogged this on Vichet and commented:
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  2. Oh such true words, that is a resolution worth doing.

  3. thereadersammy

    Makes complete sense you get so use to being connected that when your not you do get that sense of lonliness i truly believe that it would do the world some good for the world to look back at how our ancestors lived in alot of daily lifes and revert back to some of that , it was michael pollan book in defense of food , that got me thinking like this , he makes a great argument that the western diet is nothing like what our diffrent cultures were like in the past and were alot unhealthier for it , and this could defintley aspect of world including social aspects . Thanks for sharing this !

  4. thereadersammy

    Apply * not aspect .. autocorrected me … i think … i might have just gotten ahead myself lol :)

  5. An inspiring post! It sounds like an amazing place to visit but I understand the fear losing that ‘connection’. It’s hard, especially when we live in such a show-and-tell culture and hey we all want to share! But I think your resolution is great and wish you success!

  6. Beth L

    This is why I spend some part of every weekend in the woods. I used to even leave my phone behind but for safety I do now carry it–though tucked in the backpack. There’s often not service anyhow. The Japanese call it ‘forest bathing’ and it’s amazing what even an hour will do for your spirit.

  7. Reblogged this on jadecranemom and commented:
    Nice :)

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