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Lessons from my weekend away from tech & "connected" to nature

juanfrank77 profile image Juan F Gonzalez ・5 min read

What's up guys.

This is another short post on a few small lessons that I was able to reflect on being away from any sort of tech stuff for 3 days on the past weekend.

It's picking up from the post that I made last week just so you have context on this.

I know in the last post I said it was going to be 2 days but, unbeknownst to me, the past monday (10/12) was actually a holiday, so I had an extra day to spend in nature.

Some context on the place I was

My parents have a slot of land in the countryside and it's been like left alone for almost a decade but recently (like 2 or 3 years) it's been having more activity and now my father with some help started taking spots of the land and using them to plant and harvest crops.

On the other side, my mom made a garden to grow herbs and plants and some cold-weather fruits and stuff.

The farmhouse doesn't have that many commodities as a regular house but it has everything needed to spend a few days there.

Since now it's been having more activity than before, there are several things that can be done now, both from actual work and also own stuff like exploring, visiting animals, making bonfires and so on.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of how it looks.

View of the fields

View of the house

Things I thought about

Naturally, you'd think that a city guy that is really into tech has no place in the countryside digging holes, shoveling soil to make spaces to plant seeds, carrying stuff around and such.

And for the most part, you'd be right. Except that there were so many things that I usually don't do (or have ever done) that I was approaching them from a different perspective than "doing farm work".

In a place like that, you're doing exercise just by virtue of moving from one place to another since one would spend most of the time during the day out of the house and go back for lunch or grabbing something to eat.

Instead of thinking that I was doing "free" work for my parents, I thought about it from a perspective of "it's just a different kind of workout with a different kind of weights"

I also came to my mind that I could take some space near the house and build my own "natural gym" to do functional training every time I go there. 😆

With this pandemic-induced lockdowns, I've had plenty of time to read about different kinds of things like:

  • "No gym required" exercises.
  • Healthier eating (going back to the source and ditching the super processed stuff).
  • Proper routines to increase wellbeing & productivity.
  • Using some tools to track vital signs and improve health

Plus other topics related to strengthening the immune system and its resilience to sickness (pretty useful in these times).

That long weekend was a great space to test out some of those things and get some real-world experience implementing them and seeing the results. (Those are definitely some topics that have been fascinating me I think as much as web development has).

Since there's a different type of living in the countryside, there are certainly different things to do, there's little use for Wi-Fi connection and people usually watch TV or listen to the radio by the evening, the regular schedule shifts to an earlier time to wake up and an earlier time to go to bed.

Because of that, I had plenty of time to read (I brought my Kindle with me) and to write down my thoughts and think of different possibilities to pursue if I wasn't working as a software engineer at a tech company.

I also realized that while I enjoyed the time there to unwind, let the stress go and see myself in a different kind of life;
I can't deny that technology is something I'm really passionate about and is that small thing that has the BIGGEST leverage to accomplish things that would otherwise be impossible doing them in the traditional way.

It also made me think of the most "essential" things I would need to live a good life, putting together the best of both worlds (being in the countryside with internet connectivity for work).

I have to get proper gadgets for doing work, having backups and a good source of energy to maintain a stable connection (solar panels maybe?).

But the important part here I think it is having the choice of when to connect to the internet and use its power for good and not letting things there dictate how I should live.

Recap points

  • Taking the time to do a "full disconnect" and reset your routines and schedules is a thing worthwhile doing even if it's just a day or two.
  • I'm definitely neither the first nor the last to recommend this "going back to nature", "digital minimalism" style of life but it's particularly different for each one that tries it.
  • This particular time of "forced work from home" should be an opportunity to reevaluate your current lifestyle and don't become too comfortable with the commodities of the western world.
  • Our bodies are way stronger and fitter than we think but we might never be able to tell how much if we don't allow us the chance to see how far we can get without our "electronic toys".
  • A change of lifestyle shouldn't be "full tech" or "full nature" because the world rarely is black or white, learn to see the subtleties that are around.
  • In general, everything you do should be for a reason. The fact that you stop spending some of your time on the internet to do things outside in nature and other spaces is because you choose to not because someone told you to.
  • That brings the next point. You can choose to use some devices or apps to help you do some things but don't let them replace you or forget how to do the things for yourself because you got dependent on some "piece of tech".
  • Any new gadgets or tech advancements should be helping you build the kind of life you want to have and not dictate the way you should live.

So after all of this, when you think about "should I choose the technology and connectivity or nature and a more traditional way?"

Well, the answer would be

...

..

.

Why not both?


Photo by Steffen B. on Unsplash

Discussion (2)

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couchcamote profile image
couchcamote

Interesting post. We actually have the same situation. We have a vacant plot of land in my hometown in a super remote coastal province in the Philippines. I moved to the big city years ago to work in IT industry and no one amoung us siblings had interest to focus on the land because of our busy schedule. Since pandemic, my mother in the countryside had the time to make improvements on our land. There's now a hut and garden. On my work, WFH become the norm for most people.

Our small town, facing the Pacific ocean and being selected to be a landing station of a submarine cable with direct link the the US few years ago, is now suddenly connected to the world with fiber connection. It opened my interest to maybe it is possible to code and and do farming at the same time. I'm now trying to learn hardware stuff like beaming internet signal, some IoT to maybe remotely monitor our land. Because of this, I'm falling in love with programming again, doing things that could practically help us.

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juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez Author

Hahaha nice, how small is the world isn't it? At least you have fiber connection there 😅
I'm also starting to think how viable could be to do coding work on weekdays and do some farming work on the weekends haha.

I have a friend from college that got a double degree in systems engineering and also electronic engineering and he was working with IoT and sensors to create a product to launch as a startup.
I have massive respect for everyone that is able to take their tech skills and use them with hardware especially if it's creating something to make farm work easier (which as I mentioned in the post, is the whole point of technology to assist not replace)

Thanks for the comment!