Alright folks, here it goes. Hopefully I can keep these thoughts in order and coherent, post mini-holiday.
This past Thursday was Australia Day. My gracious hosts decided to celebrate with a long weekend down on the Southern Coast of New South Wales, in the village of Tuross Head. The weekend coincided with a very much needed experiment in determining whether or not Nomophobia would effect me.
Quick segue here on the topic of phone addiction. I’ve been striving for separation from, well let’s just say “people,” for months. In fact, i’ve romanticized the notion of going dark and disappearing for a while. Since leaving the U.S., I’ve found myself glued to either my computer or phone– sometimes both at the same time. Maybe it’s the need for attention or I am truly running away from something. Hypocritically so, I want both at the same time: disconnection and connection.
Alright, back on topic. 96 hours without any electronics other than a kindle and camera. Oh yeah, no internet either. The drive down was rough and even before we left Canberra, I could feel a slight uneasiness. What would have normally helped expedite a 2+ hour drive through the bush, was replaced by naps, polishing a Timorese worry stone, and conversing. Nothing too special, yet nothing too arduous. I know, first world problems, right?
The house we stayed in was simple, bright, airy, and opened to jungle, mountain, and the Tuross River views. Once I found the back deck hammock, I spent all of Friday reading (finished) I Forgot to Die by Khalil Rafati. The simplicity of having so few artificial stimuli, combined with the amazing Australian summer, opened the door to relaxation and clear thoughts. It’s amazing how much time I have spent trying to distract myself from the lulls between activities in everyday life, as if I cannot spend one single minute just to watch the world go by.
Come 5:00 a.m. Saturday, I was rudely woken by sounds of the jungle. First, it was what I could only guess to be birds on the corrugated steel roof, pecking and hopping around. Honestly, it sounded as if rats were scurrying through the ceiling above me– it was unnerving. But that didn’t get me fully out of the sleep hangover. Enter the Eastern Koel. What our trio initially referred to as the “Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo Bird” and seemed to posses such an innocent and child-like call on Friday, turned into “WOULD YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP?!” bird on Saturday. Fortunately (not) for me, it wasn’t just the backyard which was blessed with their mating call; Nic and Mick must of had the distant mate in the front of the house returning a call. Digging down another layer, the laughing Kookaburras were in unison and sounded like distant Orangoutangs. Add that all together and the sounds I came to fondly remember Australia by, became the soundtrack to my nightmare. Needless to say, I was in a shit mood for the better part of the day.
By Sunday, I’d learned to use earplugs. Full disclosure: they didn’t do shit. Alas, it was time to go back to Canberra. Before we left Tuross Head, we hired a boat with a wicked fast 6 horse engine and patrolled the waters of the Tuross Lake and River. Being brackish, the water was a beautiful turquoise green and quite clear. As I motored the yacht, Nic and Mick were free to spot a fur seal on Tuross Lake Broadwater. We were all pretty astonished how close the seal allowed us to get (a few feet) while it cleaned itself, dove for fish, and played peak-a-boo. Pretty enchanting. After two-hours on the water, it was time to head back. For anyone who has visited this part of the world, you know how extreme the sun’s intensity is here. Fortunately two hours was enough to get a quick look at the lake and river, spot wildlife, and have one more chilled out session before heading back.
In conclusion, I didn’t miss too much by not having my phone. Sure there were a few important messages and emails to attend to, but in all reality, it was worth it. As this blog is called “Your Quiet Voice” the intent is to document ways to gain access to the guiding voice, I believe, we all have inside and hopefully inspire others to find the same connection. A four-day weekend off the grid helped to minimize the white-noise associated with too many tabs open on Google Chrome and a constant ping from social media and restore my connection with the voice. Finally, spending a weekend with great friends is never a waste. With both Nic and Mick’s work schedule, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to spend four consecutive days together. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to stay with them and spend a cheeky weekend off the grid.