It’s Time to go Offline...
A lot of us wait for our vacation in hopes that we can relax and recharge, but sadly we often return feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation. In addition to planning our trip, which can sometimes feel like a second job, we also spend a great deal of energy on our holiday navigating a sea of google searches to figure out where to go, what to see, and what not to miss. Our devices can end up tethering us to what’s going on at work, our Facebook feed, and the non-stop news of the day. The search for free wifi can overshadow our quest for adventure, and all that time spent in front of a screen are opportunities we lose to take in the moment that is right in front of us.
Unlike our devices, in order for us to recharge we need to unplug. This is precisely why I love getting off the grid and getting on a boat. Whether it’s a raft on a river or a ship on the sea, there’s nothing more refreshing than going deep into the heart of nature where no wifi can find us.
Go with the Flow…
Rivers are the lifeblood of the earth and perhaps that’s why we feel renewed after a river trip. Time spent on a river has a special way of slowing things down, allowing us to connect deeper with nature, ourselves, and others. There is great freedom when we trade in the race to arrive for the experience of going with the flow. Author A.A. Milne said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Once we climb onto the raft, our hands are off the wheel. The river sets the pace and the guides take care of the logistics. There are no decisions to make, no calls for reservations, no need to remember what day it is, and no reason to charge our phones.
Camping on the river’s shoreline is a chance to find our natural rhythm again. We go to bed shortly after the sun goes down, and we get up with the first rays of golden light. Without the distractions of our busy day-to-day lives, we notice more, and our days become richer for it. We take joy in the simple things; good food, good people, dry clothes, and a place to sleep bring a deep feeling of contentment. When we’re not looking into our screens, we actually get to know the people we’re traveling with and the adventures and challenges of our days bond us together in unexpected ways.
Whether it’s the Alsek river in Alaska, the Rogue river in Oregon, the might Zambezi in Zambia or the Colorado river in Grand Canyon, all rivers have their own character and no two trips are the same. What all river trips do share is the opportunity to let go and experience the freedom that comes when we trust the current to carry us.
Let the Sea Set You Free…
The ocean always goes where it wants to go and maybe that is why the sea has always been the ultimate symbol for freedom. There is something ephemeral about the experience of being on the ocean; the sound of the waves, the smell of the salty air, the unending vastness that speaks to something deep within us. Gazing out at the horizon where the ocean meets the sky has a way of soothing our crowded minds, closing down all the tabs we have open, and giving us the space to exhale. Small ship expedition cruises are all about connection; to the ocean, to nature, and to our fellow travelers. In order to connect, we first have to disconnect from distractions, which is why some expedition ships do not offer internet onboard. Instead, they offer their guests the opportunity to discover something more fulfilling than a full inbox.
Being on a smaller ship gives us entrée to places that few get a chance to see, and for those of us who see camping as something to be endured rather than enjoyed, expedition cruises give us the opportunity to get out into deep wilderness knowing that we can return for a hot shower and a comfy bed. Sea kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, snorkeling, and other excursions are all part of the day’s unfolding, which give us plenty of ways to experience nature on the ground level rather than watching it on a screen. Whether it’s humpback whales, dolphins, eagles, bears, or sea lions, the excitement of seeing animals in the wild has a way of kindling our childlike wonder, making us feel more alive and reminding us of nature’s divine harmony. These intimate, eye-to-eye encounters with wildlife are deeply touching, leaving a lasting impression on our hearts.
Whether cruising the Galapagos Islands, taking in the glaciers of Alaska, sea kayaking in Antarctica or soaking up the warmth of the Hawaiian Islands, being at sea immersed in the natural world is an opportunity to quiet our minds, be present with the moment, and enjoy the expansion that comes with exploration.
Unplug and Get On-Board!
For your next vacation, unplug your phone charger, tuck your computer away, say bon voyage to your facebook friends, and sail off the grid into the heart of nature for an experience that will cleanse you and leave you feeling recharged. Whether you and your family are geared toward camping on the river, or prefer an adventure at sea, both experiences offer a chance to rejuvenate, slow down, connect with nature, and spend quality time with those we love.
Photos courtesy of Un-Cruise Adventures, Baja Expeditions and Slickrock Adventures.