Going off-grid

In the current era of fast-flowing information, I often feel that I get too many impulses. (You probably do too – this can’t be just me) I often complain to myself about not having enough time, to relax, to read, to write, to draw, to meditate, you name it. Yet, whenever there is a small window of opportunity to do any of the above, I usually don’t. As if an invisible puppeteer controls me, I immediately reach fory phone, my laptop. Except the writing, I hardly ever use these devices for any of the other much desired items on the wish list. I usually check emails, scroll through Twitter, looking for the latest gossip in ecology, I may read some abstracts for potentially interesting papers, or I obsessively stare at data that visualize the current status of the pandemic. I certainly know how to keep myself busy, and although they’re not the worst activities to spend time on, they’re certainly not that pressing either. Arguably my attention for these matters, or the complete lack thereof, won’t make a huge difference in the world.

This morning we packed our van to enjoy our holiday weekend somewhere South, in the Alps. Although we have explored areas just South of Munich quite a bit, there are plenty of places to the east and west that we have never been to. One such place is Berchtesgadener Land, where apparently the Bavarian Alps should be particularly pretty. We never went there, because it’s about a 2.5 hours drive away, just too much for a day trip. But now that we have a home on wheels and the pandemic curfews have been lifted in many places, we thought it was time to explore new territory.

I guess there are worse places to sit quietly.

So now I’m here, sitting in my van on a parking lot in the middle of fucking nowhere. Heike’s joining Rafa for his afternoon nap. This is a desolate parking lot in the Alps. It’s a small piece of heaven. Sitting in a campervan in this place is not as bad as it may sound. Now suddenly I find myself with two hours to spend on something. I immediately reach for my phone. I got to scroll through Twitter! But, oh no! I’m in the middle of nowhere, with a tiny little reception of Germany’s favorite internet network; E. Forget checking email. Forget Twitter. I tried, but it won’t refresh. I’m off-grid. A slight feeling of panic rises up from within. What do I do?

I relax, I write (I can use the WordPress app somehow – although it’s painstakingly slow), then I read, maybe I will meditate.

Isn’t it bizarre that I need to be off-grid – to literally have no other options – in order to force myself to do these things, that I usually all really enjoy?

I’m an addict!

Published by Robin Heinen

Father of two | Husband | Entomologist and Ecologist | Postdoctoral Researcher @ TUM | Traveler | Coffee Addict

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