What the numbers say…
In the last 3 years, there have been numerous articles on digital saturation, the need for digital detox and the impact that being constantly connected has on both individuals and organisations. Scary stats such as 68% of us taking a device to bed, 84% of us not being able to go a day without our smartphones and stress related illness costing our economies in excess of £100bn per year.
Other research shows that those who take the time to slow down or spend at least a third of their week on self-reflection are more effective leaders, more capable of dealing with the stress that life has to throw at them and that if you focus your effort on doing something you love, then it does not even feel like work.
Now you can argue that stats often tell the story you want them to tell but even in a small survey of 20 people that I undertook personally, the majority felt a persistent pressure to be connected, struggled to find time for themselves and found it difficult to “switch off”.
The way we communicate is evolving exponentially in the Information Age and the world is becoming a much smaller place. Finding moments of solitude and sanctuary is becoming a holy grail of wellbeing and finding places untouched by technology, Eden.
The beginning of a journey…
The Back to Basics experience started as a very personal journey of looking for my own solitude and sanctuary without the clutter of communicating through a medium or the distraction of technology and I have had the good fortune of seeing some incredible places, meeting some amazing people and experiencing some life changing revelations along the way.
It seemed a shame not to share this with others and so the Back to Basics Experience was born. The concept aims to transport you to an inspiring location, beautiful in its simplicity and untouched by the modern world. Each experience provides a window to what life was like before the technological revolution and an opportunity for reflection as you disconnect from your busy life and revel in the stillness that comes when reconnecting with our natural surroundings.
The dress rehearsal…
This year, we had our first dress rehearsal of the Bush Experience which was both daunting and exhilarating. 5 of us struck out on a journey of self discovery in a north western corner of Southern Africa, close to the Botswana border.
We spent 6 days in Mosetlha, a family owned and run, rustic and intimate, unfenced eco-friendly Bush Camp at the very heart of the fourth largest conservation area in South Africa, complete with open fire cooking, no electricity, safari showers (with hot water) and raised wooden cabins to sleep in.
The diverse group consisted of myself, a peak performance coach, an experienced project manager and an septuagenarian with a passion for adventure. During our time in the bush, we saw the big 5 within the first 24 hours (that is Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino) and in one morning alone: followed cheetah on their morning stroll, watched lions playing and finished the drive with leopard in a tree with a kill. Overall we saw 25 different species of mammal, over 50 different species of birdlife (including vultures and a marshal eagle), 2 amphibians (a blue headed agama and a chameleon in camp) and a crocodile.
The scenery and wildlife were breath-taking and with limited access to technology, it is the perfect environment to relax and recharge. Apart from the game drives and meal times, the timetable is relaxed with a couple of us participating in 1-2-1 coaching sessions during the afternoon and the rest of our time spent soaking up the serenity: catching up on our reading, resting or having long conversations by the camp fire.
Reflections in people’s hearts…
Everyone was unanimous in their enjoyment of the Bush Experience and in awe of what the bush had to offer…
“It has really helped change me, it was just, well, just incredible. I am still lost for words when I think about it, and I think about it a lot. So it well and truly grounded me. ” RH, Project Manager
“I love love loved it!” EO, Retired go-getter
“I was worried that I would get bored but having all this time for reflection has been a blessing. Sign me up for the next one“, JPDV, Motivational Speaker, Author and Peak Performance Coach
This is certainly one of the places I come to heal and watching everyone discover a part of themselves on this trip has been very rewarding. This dress rehearsal has provided the affirmation that I should continue to bring people to places like this so they can discover, rediscover or explore revelations of their own.
Please join our community on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/backtobasicsexperience for future updates and check out some of the amazing photo’s taken while on the Back to Basics Bush Experience dress rehearsal here.