You know what’s one great thing about San Diego? In just 60 minutes, you can be far enough into the desert to completely disconnect for a day, a weekend, or even a week. No cell phone service, no running water and certainly no convenience stores – not even marked roads.
So, before you decide that this sounds more like a weekend in some cruel and unusual sort of punishment, hear me out.
You’ll Get to Actually Forget About Work
I’m a bit of a workaholic, so – if I hear an email ping – I can’t help but check it. For me, it’s impossible to put down my phone through dinner, but so easy to leave it in the car during a three-day hike. Why? Because when there’s no signal, I know there’s nothing for me to even check.
When you’re primitive camping, it’s the ultimate excuse to completely disconnect from every piece of technology you own. And it’s a very freeing experience. You get to take back all the hours in each day and fill them with the valuable experiences that really matter, like quiet time and real conversation with the people around you.
You’ll Get Back Into the Natural Flow of Things
When’s the last time you went to bed with the sunset and woke up with the sunrise? It’s a simple thing that most of us seldom do. Thanks to modern technology and electricity, we can burn the midnight oil on a Friday, pull closed the curtains on Saturday morning, and wake up whenever we please.
When you are sleeping outside, though, you get a chance to reconnect with nature’s cycle. You learn to love waking up with the first glimpse of light – sans alarm clock – and realize that your eyelids are already heavy as the sun begins to set each night. You just listen to your body and the world around you: when you are tired, you nap, when you are hungry, you eat. There’s no set lunch hour on the trails.
This is especially true if you are doing any sort of physical activity – go hiking, rock climbing or cycling all day and you’ll quickly realize why 9 p.m. is a backpacker’s midnight.
You’ll Get a Different Kind of Workout
I go to the gym almost every day. I’m a big fan of body-weight workouts and yoga, but no amount of arm curls or pull-ups can prep you for the full body workout that is cycling (or hiking) under a hot sun with everything you need to survive in your panniers or backpack.
You’ll discover muscles you didn’t know you had – and they’ll be sore. It’s at times both harder and easier than your gym routine, but I’ve found that it’s always more rewarding. Plus, I’d take knowing I biked 80 miles down the road over sitting in a smelly spin class any day.
You’ll Feel Like You’re Living Off the Land – And it will Feel Great
Ok, so most people pack food. In fact, I’d highly recommend it for your personal safety and health. But the small act of cooking your food over an open fire with some foraged sticks really activates your inner caveman. You feel capable. Like, if the apocalypse suddenly struck, you’d be OK.
You may get the chance to filter your own water, use rocks and stumps as chairs and set cairns as your road signs. You start to learn how little you actually need to be comfortable, and how much less you need to survive. All in all, you feel stronger, more confident and way more appreciative of your amenities when do you return home.
But that’s part of why I go – not just to disconnect and reconnect, but to learn more about myself and to gain new perspectives on life. It makes me think about things like how I could conserve more energy, and reduce my carbon footprint. Each adventure enriches you in a different way and builds on the last experience.
And you know what? When you finally turn your phone back on, you’ll find that you probably didn’t miss anything all that urgent after all.
All pictures are original photos taken by Averi on her local adventures in San Diego County.