2014-06-30 20.30.59Krkonoše. Green mountains, streams, quiet valleys, chalets. A perfect place to hike and be. Just be. After spending three days there I realized one thing about myself: I am a damned hypocrite.

I spend all year barking at students about technology in one way or another. I am either shouting at them to stop reading Facebook or Twitter and to pay attention. Or I am groaning about their lack of touch with the real world in lieu of the virtual one.

And yet, in my first three days in one of the most beautiful natural areas of Europe, I spend the entire time on the computer in the chalet’s restaurant. I did look out of the window a lot. I looked out the window and sighed, too. And when the other people ran out to look at the rainbow, I even took a picture through that window.

OK, I did have some good excuses. I have a lot of work to do, work that is important to me. I am finishing a book and I write this blog. I have a number of short stories and essays that have to be edited this summer. And I am outlining another book for an upcoming contest.

But at the end of the day, they were just excuses. How often do I find myself in surroundings as lovely as these? I wrote last week on this blog about how wonderful it is to spend time away from trams and cars and people and technology?

And here I was.

And I was wasting it.

I have a cluttered and worrying mind. I have inherited my family’s obsessive concern about the future. I have tried meditation, but I spent the whole time thinking about what I had to do afterwards. I have always envied those who seem to possess serenity. My own relationship with serenity is more akin to the one jackhammers have with concrete.

Technology only makes this worse. Technology gives me the opportunity to worry and plan and even write. And for the first three days in Krkonoše I was never without my technological armor. Phone. Tablet. Laptop. I couldn’t spend five minutes away from my phone or tablet.

But on the fourth day, I decided to take a walk. I left my things – everything – in the room and wandered up to Ptačí Kameny (Bird’s Rocks). It was very loud in my head on the walk up there. Worries and concerns, deadlines and responsibilities. But as I walked and walked, these things dropped away here and there. Once I got up there, I was tired and found a big stone in the middle of the forest. So I sat down and just was.

It was here that I experienced a long-lost friend: quiet. There was nothing. The bugs didn’t bug me. Even the wind seemed to quiet down for my benefit. Every now and then a few people passed by on hikes and none of them even saw me and they were gone as quickly as they had arrived.

I went back around dinnertime, feeling refreshed and mellow. I was in my room for about 4 seconds before I checked all of my emails and Facebook pages with sweaty relief.

Eh. I’m working on it.

When did you last spend some time away from your technology?


  1. #1 by PJ on July 14, 2014 - 12:54 pm

    I guess I’m lucky in that I’m forced into a technology free zone every time I go to the cottage. We have no phone/internet connection there so I get a 2-3 day break every so often. It’s nice but I’m definitely addicted to being plugged in.

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