Digital Detox – an experience in the woods

(c) eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY (c) eLLe PHOTOGRAPHY

A few months ago, I went on a weekend retreat hosted by Digital Detox – an organization that’s trying to lessen the way we are all so connected to our digital devices.  We arrived on a Friday afternoon, and upon arrival, per the rules, I turned over my watch & iphone.  (I knew going into it that no digital devices of any sort were allowed, so I didn’t bother to bring along anything else with a battery.  I hadn’t counted on not having a watch (I’m old school – I like a wrist watch and hadn’t considered it a device).  Suddenly I was thrust into a weekend without not only my phone, but without my camera.  I felt like my arm was cut off.  I did bring along an analog camera (the original kind – one that takes film, and doesn’t have a battery, circa 1965) as I couldn’t fathom a weekend without photos, especially in Ukiah, California where there’s such beautiful scenery to capture.  I was a good camper though.  I left the camera in my car and played along for the weekend.  It was interesting not having internet access.  Time passed very slowly, but was filled by the organizers with activities.  I would have preferred just some peace and quiet to read by myself.  Many people have said that I could just do this any weekend, for free, but that’s really pretty far from accurate.  My business depends on my being connected and in-touch, and besides, I like the internet too much.  I did enjoy meeting new people (interestingly, everyone went on their own without other friends so it was an especially friendly group) and being a little more deliberate.  I also just like that things like this exist — I like that people are living their dreams and organizing retreats in the woods.  The second I was set free, however, (contrary to the reports in Businessweek where I achieved 15 seconds of fame), I didn’t turn on my phone (it didn’t work up in the redwood forest anyway), but instead, I pulled out one of my vintage film cameras and took these photos.  Had I left my camera at home, I would have cried and shooting these pics capped off a very memorable weekend.

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