keep calm and stay offline

I’m happy. These days I’m staying at a friend’s place in the wonderful city of Berne. Berne, a small fairytale-like town is just what I needed. Even though it is the capital of Switzerland, this place has something to offer that many other cities don’t. The ability to opt out. To opt out of anything that’s in front of a screen.  As a content marketing manager who spends most of his time dealing with stuff online, the picturesque scenery of the Swiss Alps and the river Aare that engulf this serene city, provides a pleasant escape.  It is the kind of feeling you get when you are walking up a mountain and the deep green trees that build the roof of this marvelous scenery seem to refresh your eyes.

Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy technology and I love being online, especially on social networks. But sometimes it’s a good thing to get out there and forget about Facebook and Co. Studies show that spending time in nature makes people feel more alive. Richard Ryan, professor at the University of Rochester says that people who spend more time outdoors feel happier and are less likely to get sick. So sometimes when we are feeling exhausted and reach out for a cup of coffee what would really help us is to get energized is to connect with nature.

Come alive

And ultimately this is exactly my goal. To feel more alive. The author John Eldridge puts this very well in his book Wild at Heart: „Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.“

I think there is definitely some truth in that statement. Men are not supposed to be staring at a computer screen all the time. At least I cannot say that this would make them come alive. Every once in a while I get the urge to go outside into the wild. And this wild can be anything. For some people it may be to go fishing at a lake, others just want to spend some time in their vegetable garden. The point is to make a change to your everyday pattern and include some time to be completely offline.  This best works with setting up some routines. The thing with routines is that I hate them but I love them at the same time. It’s always easier to give in to your old patterns but it’s much more fulfilling to enjoy that moment when you have successfully completed something that you set out to do.

Samstag is Sam’s Day

I have decided to set aside one day a week where I try not to use any digital media. No computer, no TV, no phone. That being said, I must admit that I’m not always able to keep this promise. But the times I do, I really get more out of my weekends. I try to go out more, go for a hike, change it up. Do sports, or just read (nope, not on my kindle, but that physical thing called a book, remember what it is?). I think everybody has his or her own way of recharging their internal batteries. For some people however, it is really helpful not just to switch off but also to get away from their daily place of work. Together with my dad we did some thinking the other day. We thought  about starting weekends esspecially for people who want to experience this. To really go away and switch off. Just enjoy a nice bonfire in the woods without any messages and tweets reminding us of  things that we really could also do the next day. We’d call it the Offline Weekend. It was just an idea. But I think there would be more than enough people who would love to experience this. I absolutely would.

Finally, I want to add that sitting here on the edge of a wall with a nice view of the Bundeshaus in Berne typing into my computer simply does not seem right. The huge alps in my back are calling me and I’ll be happy to switch off my Laptop and my phone. At least for a moment :)


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