That’s right, you heard me.
The millennials are going offline for a whole 48 hours. *the crowd gasps*
As I write this, it is hour 22. We are all alive and well (for the most part). I have decided to put together a little guide on how to avoid the urge to use the internet for an entire day on the Camino.
1) When going up the hills leading to O’Cebriero, focus on the walk. Ascending through the mountains to O’Cebriero today was a breathtaking experience, literally and figuratively. The walk was steep, but when one felt safe enough to look up instead of staring at the ground to avoid death by slippery rock, the view was incredible. Be sure to stop periodically to turn around and take it all in.
2) Take plenty of pictures. Even though they can’t do this place justice, take them so you’re able to look back and remember it.
3) Stop for snacks. I don’t know what we would do without the daily ice cream break. Nothing lifts the spirits like chocolate covered ice cream bars.
4) Take some time to reflect on your goals. We passed a little tree today covered in notes where people had written about their dreams. Writing them down can help solidify what one is trying to achieve both on the Camino and in life in general.
5) Admire some animals along the way and fight the urge to touch them. Seriously, we see so many random/possibly stray cats that all I want to do is touch them, but the voice in my head says NOOOOO. I pet a magnificent dog today though so I was pretty stoked.
6) Stop for some more food. This time some of us got vegetarian food which was a nice change of pace from all the bread and ham we have been consuming. People were not joking when they said all we would eat here is bread and cheese. Lexi, Lisa and I have had ham and cheese sandwiches in some form almost every day since we got here.
7) Chat/sing with the people you’re walking with. Nothing distracts from foot pain like a good ol’ Christmas carol or the walking version of the Macarena.
8) Do some dancing in the rain to celebrate it being cooler than 80 degrees and extremely sunny for the first time in 3 days. Also, get excited to finally use that rain gear you’ve been hauling around for the past few days (backpack cover for the win).
9) Get a good workout in by running away from packs of giant flies. Let me tell you that you do not know fear until you walk past a pile of horse poop and startle a swarm of about 100 flies, and the only solution is to haul yourself up the hill as fast as possible to escape them. Poor Sebastian walked with a horde of flies around his head for a few kilometers. We can’t figure out why the flies were only trailing him, but it happened.
10) Finish the day sharing embarrassing stories at the dinner table and making Lisa laugh, starting the inevitable chain of events in which we all start laughing at Lisa’s laugh until we cry.
Bonus: Play an intense round of Bananagrams.
Honestly, though, not using our phones all day has almost lifted a weight off of our shoulders. I can’t speak for everyone, but the general consensus has been that we feel relieved of some burden and “obligation” to be on our phones. Although it is hard for us to resist the urge to go on social media or reply to friend’s texts, being unplugged has definitely brought us closer together. We are all less distracted. Instead of feeling like we are missing out on the experience of others, we are being forced to enjoy our experience on the Camino for what it really is. Not checking the time or email, or feeling the need to scroll through social media is so freeing, just like the walk itself.
Stay tuned to see how the next 26 hours pans out.
Hailey Konisky, Biochemistry