The day before I headed to Cloona (for details of my stay there see the previous post) I read an article in the Irish Times by Pico Iyer, originally published in the New York Times as, ‘The Joy of Quite’, – (to read it click here )) which examined our plugged-in-infomation-overloaded-lives. He suggests that the future of travel may well lie in ‘black hole resorts’ where it will not be possible to go online and where there will be no televisions in the rooms.
I knew, as I travelled there, that my six-day stay at Cloona would be a sequestered one: without radio, television or Wi-Fi and without the multiple distractions that go with them. So, what did I do and how did I survive? The programme: morning yoga, an am and a pm walk, plus three slowly-eaten meals, took up a good bit of the day. Of course I chatted with my fellow guests. And I went to bed early, hoping to kick-start an early to bed early to rise habit. I also brought some distractions with me: the unread weekend papers, a magazine, a few books, two sets of pencils and some notebooks. My iPhone came too but I tried to keep its use to an absolute minimum; I succeeded because I can remember (for the first time, in any given week) how many times I used it.
I never once felt bored and yes there was joy in the unplugged quite. Nor did I feel the world was closing in on me, paradoxically as my world shrank and was corralled into a few square miles, away from the quotidian cacophony, I felt my mind was opening up. Many things that Pico Iyer said in his article resonated with me. One of them was ‘it’s only by having some distance from the world that you can see it whole and understand what you should be doing with it’ . I would highly recommend, to anyone, a retreat of some sort. I am already thinking of what I might do next year. A silent retreat? Maybe, just maybe!
12 responses to “Disconnected Days”
Oh i envy you that lovely few days. i used to do this at the beach once or twice a year, no electricity sorts it ALL out fairly smartly! i am glad you had a lovely time though i never for a minute thought you wouldn’t – now no playing catch up. just go at the speed you want to, from today.. c
Thanks C … and no I am not going to try and play catch up. A beach retreat sound good. I imagine that on the farm you experience, from time to time, moments of stillness that the rest of us don’t get. Lucky you.
I’m not sure I could be silent.. but really I am silent for great chunks of the day anyway? But I definitely would enjoy a complete “black hole” vacation without phones or computers and such.. but my kids would have to be with me… or I’d worry… Love your retreat!! xo Smidge
Thanks Smidge. I am not one hundred percent on the silence either that’s why it’s just a *maybe idea* at the moment. I though when I went that I would miss the internet but in fact not being connected was a relief. I hope you get to go on a *black hole* vacation sometime – with the children obviously. xo
Thanks for sharing that Pico Iyer article – I really enjoyed it. In one way, it is sad that we live in such a disconnected world – disconnected from ourselves and others. And in another way, your disconnection from the very things that make us disconnected (phones, internet, tv etc.) sounds like a wonderful experience. The retreat looks so beautiful.
I am glad you enjoyed the Pico Iyer article. After I read, and because I felt it was so filled with common sense, I put a few of his books on my Amazon wish list. Yes being disconnected was wonderful – it had a calming effect. Thanks for your comment.
Marvelous post, excellent article. And that photo of the stone gate! One of the most beautiful I can remember seeing. Thanks for sharing *all* of it!
Kathryn I am glad you enjoyed the article, I have to admit *shamefacedly* that it was the first time I had come across Pico Iyer. Yes the gate is beautiful, my eye was constantly drawn to it.
What a great escape. That first photo is stunning. We moved six weeks ago into a house with no TV aerial. We haven’t had one installed. And I can honestly say I don’t miss it.
I never missed the television when I was away either. Isn’t it amazing how easy it is to do without it.
You leave us all longing for a place to retreat to in order to correct our vision of the world and our place in it. Thank you, and thank you for the link to the article.
I felt so refreshed when I returned. I wish I was brave enough to make each weekend a unplugged one. I am glad you liked the article.