This recent Sunday NY Times editorial, The Joy of Quiet by Pico Iyer struck a note. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/opinion/sunday/the-joy-of-quiet.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&smid=fb-share The basic premise of the article is that the internet age arrived without an instruction manual. Despite the many benefits of technology, people are going to great effort and expense now to turn it off for a while. I can certainly relate. Like most American workers, I am interrupted every few minutes and have to work hard to find time in a day to actually find myself and focus! A highlight of a recent family trip to Guatemala was the opportunity to get away from my cell phone and internet for 8 whole days. I may have enjoyed this separation even more than Guatemala’s beautiful scenery.
The article points out, that after spending time in quiet rural settings, subjects “exhibit greater attentiveness, stronger memory and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper.” More than that, empathy, as well as deep thought, depends on neural processes that are “inherently slow.” The very ones our high-speed lives have little time for.
This article is well supported well by another NY Times article I read last August about a group of scientists on a rafting trip trying to study how a retreat into nature might reverse the effects of digital technology on our brain. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/16/technology/16brain.html?pagewanted=all
Both articles subtly make a great case for a summer at Adventure Treks. No time in life is more important for finding oneself than adolescence. Yet as Adolescents spend more and more time in front of screens, handling on average over a hundred texts a day, they may be losing an opportunity to get to know or be themselves. No one knows if this decrease in reflective time may affect the people our children will become on the other end. Adventure Treks offers a valued respite from a busy, digital world. Twenty days without cell phones, TV and internet – replaced by the beauty and calm of nature – creates an opportunity for adolescents to slow down, reflect, and see themselves for the wonderful people they are. Parents frequently remark how calm, rested, assured and serene their children seem when they return from an Adventure Treks summer. (And exhausted with lots of dirty laundry!) Besides the great friends, close community, 21st century skills and role models; taking the time to slow down and find oneself away from a busy digital world is just another great reason to spend the summer at Adventure Treks!