I don’t hate technology. AllSwell isn’t ANTI-tech. Afterall, I’m talking to you right now via a digital platform.
And hey, technology can be an incredibly helpful tool for analog exploration. When’s the last time you took a solo road trip without GPS? I had absurdly idealized notions about folding paper maps (“Keruoac didn’t use Waze!”) and how stopping for directions would lead me to meet people along the way. Trust me on this one, folks. Skip it. Google Maps is a great thing, especially if you’re on your own.
If it helps you get up and out exploring, I’m all for it. The questionable zone is when technology stops being of service to us and we start being of service to it, responding to its prompts and requests rather than being present in our own lives. It lead me to wonder recently could our phones be making us fat? Could the constant connectedness that comes with being plugged in boosting cortisol levels just enough to put on a pound or two? Fitbit wearers would probably disagree.
Just like any healthy relationship, it’s about setting boundaries. Which is what several of this month’s AllSwell reads are about. Including a remarkable story about utilizing technology to compensate for crippling agoraphobia and tips for putting it aside when traveling -- focusing on being where you are rather than documenting it in social media-ready images every step of the way.
Technology isn’t evil and it isn’t going away anytime soon. As Robert Frost wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.” Aiming for healthy boundaries seems like a reasonable goal. So next time I head out for a hike I will probably use GPS to get there but I’m bringing an AllSwell journal along instead of my iPhone. No Fitbit necessary.
How to Be Mindful on Vacation, New York Times
Travel can be stressful, we get it, but it really doesn’t have to be. How, you ask, can your next outing be a little less stressful and a lot more fun? Say goodbye to checklists, plan to have no plans, talk to strangers, spend time with locals, put your phone and computer away and so much more. We’re just getting started. Dive deeper into mindful vacationing with The New York Times.
Draw, doodle, sketch, write, make lists. There’s really no right way to put pen to paper. All we know is that it works. And thanks to science we know why. Putting your thoughts to paper gives your brain a breather. It’s good for your mental health to stop, sketch and forget about stress. Putting a piece of paper in front of you expands your visual field and pushes you to dream, imagine and create, all things that lead to results. Don’t believe us? The link up top will set you straight. Oh, and grab an AllSwell notebook here.
An Agoraphobic Photographer’s Virtual Travels, New Yorker
This is what we like to see: strong peeps making the best of what they’re dealt. And this photographer, who has an almost crippling case of agoraphobia, gets to see the world she’s mentally unable to with a little help from Google Street View. Take a look at her globetrotting snaps and learn a little bit more about her above.
Cliff Kapono, Scientist, Surfer, Environmental Warrior, Dirtbag Darling
“Dad would tell me the Hawaiian name and the Latin scientific name for each organism; he put a strong emphasis on being able to communicate not to just our own people, but to others who may visit our islands. The more I became exposed to science as a child, the more I realized that Hawai‘i is arguably one of the greatest places on Earth to interpret the natural world.” Dive deeper into Cliff’s meditative relationship (and your own) with the world around us up top.
Great Gardens: Glin Castle, Nowness
What we’d give to spend a night here...the lineage, lethargy, growth, time, womanhood. This walled garden encapsulates one of Ireland’s last great castles and the family that’s called it home for more than seven-hundred years, the FitzGerald clan. Each lady of the manor (yes, that’s a thing) put their personal spin on it, from the Persian ironwood walls to it’s current untamed aesthetic. The garden is more than just plants, it’s a living, breathing, meditative history. Check it out at the link up top.