The Art of Getting Away

As you read this in front of your computer screen, as its dull brightness eats at your soul, I am in the beautiful wilderness of northern Michigan. Today is the last day of our annual family backpacking trip. This year we are taking a trip to Picture Rocks National Lakeshore, one of my favorite places in the world.

But the location really doesn’t matter that much. We could go camping in the woods out back from my parents’ house, and it would be equally valuable. The point of this trip is less about where we are going as it is about the simple act of getting away. Breaking the habits of normal makes a big difference.

The first big thing is to disconnect from the technology that constantly surrounds me. Television, internet, video games; I spent every waking hour with technology around me. This brings me a great deal of joy and happiness, but it can become draining in its monotony. A clean break can be quite refreshing.

A similar value is gain by simply going to a new place. All the locations we go backpacking are “once-a-year” places. I never get there except when backpacking. These new environments can rejuvenate.

Finally, these backpacking trips are with my brothers and my dad. While we get together regularly, it is almost always for some external event: weddings, births, funerals, etc. This trip is just us and only for us. That togetherness is wonderful.

Getting away is an essentially part of my personal well being. True vacations are infrequent in my life currently; work and family obligations keep me from getting too far away. Because of that, I greatly appreciate the ones I do get. Done well they will be enough.

-That is all.


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