I feel a change coming; time to live without time. During this week I would be handed down to the sun and the moon. First thing my brain said was: NOOO!! You need to know the time man, in case of closing stores or the sun going down. But do I really need to know what time it is to see the golden hour of sunset? And the shops; if they are closed, they are closed. I have no clue where the shops are and what their opening times are. My brain just needs to get accustomed to this way of living. I switched off my phone, changed the time on my Ipod and changed the situation in my brain. Time for an eight day digital detox.
Eight days without phone, clock and GPS. A paper map, sun, stars and Sarah Conor; my new bought bike with just 6 gears. The round and volcanic island of Gran Canaria is not a new place for me, still it’s a place with beautiful mountains waiting to be explored. By 6-gear-citybike in this case. The perfect combination to get away from the digital highway, paved through our lives where we spend to much time during traffic jams.
A digital detox comes best with intense physical movement. Sweating and releasing all those digital toxins, dripping down while cycling up a pass in first gear. The sun was hot this 5th day, like it was every previous day. After a long day of cycling up hills I decided to sleep on Tasartico Beach; a little beach with black sand, found only after going down a small road. The road might have been small, but it was a steep decent. With 40 km/h I went down to the beach and after a noisey, clear night breakfast hit me right in the face. Sunrise brought the heat of the day upon the black, sandy beach and with this the realisation of “just cycling back where I came from”. 10 kilometers of ascent to get where I was 12 hours earlier. After an hour cycling upwards I got into the zone; my mind was flowing like drops of sweat rolling from my back. This was the 6th day without knowing the time and being offline, together withintense fysical action this brought me a clear mind. Stripped from all the digital clutter by not knowing and caring about the digital world.
My evening routines became more personal. Normally I would check facebook or be social trough whatsapp. Now when I came to my hide-out for the night I would just sit and see the blanket of darkness falling over the world, waiting for the first starts to come out. I made dinner in fresh darkness and after my simple, one pot meal, I would take some nightly picutres, read and go to sleep. I needed to get used to this routine. By being social (on a digital or fysical way) I direct my energy outwards. But by doing these things in darkness all by myself, things get a different direction; inwards. Like a sponge my mind gathers the enviroment; thewind blowing trough the tree tops, a shooting star or an airplaine going by, sounds of crickets, birds or a lizard running trough the loose sand. While cycling all the gathered quiet moments come out, the bicycle transforming these moments into ideas and solutions.
Living without a clock for eight days was a relief. No such things as dinnertime, bedtime or setting an alarmclock. Shops wouldn’t close before nightfall and by that time I would already be in my evening routine. I did miss being social on digital platforms while cycling. It can be nice to be in contact with friends or family and share experiences. Once in a while I was wondering if I would have messages from certain people, it was good to be back online and see messages people sent me. The obsessive checking of messages is something I didn’t miss. Now I broke this habit, it’s easier to not start with it again.
In the end I just wanted to have a little adventure and explore Gran Canaria. Sleeping under a blanket of stars, cycling up steep roads, cooking Cowboy Beans and not knowing where I would end up in the evening. Eight days of continuous cycling did some good for my mind and body and I think I made some nice pictures as well. A digital detox is good every now and then. Leave the traffic jam of the digital highway behind and find your own highway. Hit the road, trail or river; turn off the phone and really get out there. And of course a digital detox is a great excuse to jump into an adventure!