Getting away from it all at New Year
I spend all day communicating by modern means, whether by email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,on the phone or blogging. I love my work and I enjoy the buzz of 21st century communication. But this New Year I realised just how much I also enjoy a break from the electronic chatter.
For four days and three nights I truly got away from it all with friends at a rented house, remotely located in the heart of fabulous Glen Etive in Glencoe. There was no wifi or mobile phone reception and we didn’t even have a TV for entertainment. Instead we – 10 adults, two teenies and three dogs – entertained ourselves with face-to-face chat, a pile of board games, country walks, a bike ride, yoga, a couple of DVDs played through a laptop and more than our combined body weight in food and drink.
The result was a delicious blend of relaxed conversation, bonkers banter, giggling and a little piling on of festive pounds thanks to a wealth of amazing meals and treats.
We talked on a wide range of topics. We finished conversations. We rested on comfy sofas next to an open fire and had afternoon naps. We couldn’t even take a “quick shower” because there were only long, deep baths in the bathrooms in which to soak and linger. Even the gas range cooker took its time to produce our hearty meals. And somehow, despite our usual fast-paced lives, every single one of us managed to sit back, chill out and forget about much of the outside world.
On arrival, only the G-Force and I had known everyone in the house. By the end of the short break, we had all become firm friends. The dogs – Wispa, Will and Spud – had also become the best of pals.
Coming back to reality
I admit I was reluctant to return to the reality of 2013 and our up-to-the-second form of news and communication. I answered only a few mobile texts when my phone finally regained reception somewhere close to Tyndrum. I glanced at a few emails in the evening and swiftly flicked down the long list of missed Facebook messages. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be drawn back into the all the electronic chatter.
Today, as I ease myself back into work mode, I am fairly happy to be back to my usual state of on-the-ball communication but I have learned a valuable lesson: There is very little communication that can’t wait a few days. I do love to chat and I do enjoy all the on-line conversations with friends and colleagues but I think that in 2013 I am going to spend a little more time enjoying the company of people face-to-face.