I'm currently vacationing in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Specifically, Victoria, the province's majestic capital. Even more specifically, we've been pampering ourselves in the iconic Fairmont Empress. It has been remarkable to revisit the city where I lived and worked 30 years ago - now with my two young girls. I have enjoyed Victoria as a tourist for the first time and we have done it all. The carriage ride, Harbour Taxi, Double Decker Bus, China Town, Old Town, Willow's Beach, Dallas Road, Fisherman's Wharf...we've done a ton.
As an avid runner, I've somewhat selfishly snuck in about 25 miles this week between the Empress, Cook Street Village, Beacon Hill Park, Dallas Road and the Inner Harbour. Every morning, having meticulously laid out my running gear the night before so as not to disturb my sleeping family, I carefully, quietly get dressed in the dark and gently open and close the heavy guest room door, making as little sound as possible. One such morning, having escaped the snoring abyss of my wife and children, I found myself in the hallway all ready to go. Door entry card - check; Beats wireless buds - check; iPhone - oops. I had mistakenly taken my daughter's iPod while fumbling around in the dark. Unwilling to take the risk in waking my aforementioned tribe, I made the decision, for the first time in years, to run without the "aid" of background sound provided by Spotify, SiriusXM or any number of radio stations I might choose. More significantly, I chose to run without NikePlus to mark my every mile.
I'm sure you can predict the result. It was liberatingly intoxicating. Untethered, I heard the sounds of a beautiful city awakening, seagulls from miles around, the stark and chilling call of peacocks in Beacon Hill, distant warning horns of ships navigating in and out of that narrow harbor, and float planes arriving and departing like bees in and out of a hive. I think I saw more clearly, felt body parts move like never before, and heard myself breathe deeply - heartily.
I was in a state of mindfulness I could not have achieved had I been plugged in to my device. Had I been consumed with distraction of artificial sound and a narcissistic need to measure my performance, I would not have enjoyed the morning I did when I very unintentionally ran unplugged.
I'm going to make an effort to do this at least once a week. I recommend it. Take back your spare time - fully. Unplug.