Living in the slow lane: a test 

 
Last week we went to a talk by Carl Honore, the author of In Praise of Slow.  

He discussed the ‘slow movement’ and the links it shared with minimalism. You can find Carl @carlhonore 

 

Chatting to Carl after the talk (which was organised by another minimalist in London who can be found at @Simple_Minimal) we discussed our plan for the weekend: a trip to Wales to a place with no TV, mobile phone reception or Wifi with our friends, another couple. A perfect opportunity for us to test out the principles set out by Carl. 

 

The challenge was set: try and spend the weekend without using mobile devices or the internet. A mini digital detox if you will.

 

Carl’s talk struck a chord with me on a number of issues but reducing our reliance on devices was one that really interested me as it’s an easy way for us all to trial a ‘slow’ life and discover the benefits.

 

We didn’t realise it but we’d already made small changes into a slow life by leaving our phones outside of the bedroom instead of charging them by the bed (with meant email checking last night and first thing in the morning). It was a small step but it makes a big difference as both of us spend the day glued to a computer screen. 

 

Being disconnected for a whole weekend was the next step. 

 

How did it go? Well, the lack of reception helped but when we went for a walk into town I didn’t feel the sudden urge to check my emails or send people pictures of the great time we were having. 

 

Instead, by being more mindful about keeping away from my phone, I was able to connect with my friends and enjoy the simpler things that I would have missed with my head in my phone. We went for a long walk (not my favourite pastime as Michelle will attest to), cooked proper meals and chatted and played board games. 

 

The lack of other distractions meant I connected with my surroundings and my friends better, I appreciated a particularly beautiful sunset and gazed at the stars, had more interesting discussions. and also opened up than I normally do (despite writing in this blog I’m quite a shy person). 

 

Coming back to reality and mobile reception on Sunday was sad as not only were we going to miss our friends but also I wasn’t ready to plug back in. 

 

The mini digital detox did me good. Over the past few days I’ve not been desperate to go online, I’m happy to sit with my thoughts and absorb what’s around me. I had to get the bus as opposed to cycle and I didn’t have the urge to get my phone out straight away. Instead I enjoyed the view as the bus went through London – small change but one that was noticeable from a couple of weeks ago.

 

Will I still live life in the ‘fast lane’ or have I converted to the ‘slow lane’? I think it’s inevitable that living in London means life will have a faster pace but I’m going to take the time to make sure I find ways to slow down where possible. 

 

I would be interested to hear what others do to slow down and how do you find a balance in your life?

 

F

PS. The picture is of some wild horses we encountered on our walk

5 thoughts on “Living in the slow lane: a test 

  1. I must admit that I love travelling on the bus. My OH hates it and won’t entertain the idea, but I love nothing more than people and city watching, as it travels along. When I first came to London as a student, I used to go on long bus journeys across the capital to take it all in. It was my way of getting to know the city, which you don’t experience the same way on the underground. I still do use the buses if I go anywhere on my own, partly because I live in a borough that isn’t too well served by the underground.

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  2. Just wanted to say what a lovely photo and how well it encapsulates the essence of your post and slow weekend. Also, I think it’s so important to give your eyes a break from screens and stretch your eye muscles – walking is perfect for this. Here’s to more slow weekends!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Claire, glad you like the photo. Going Slow helped me actually “see” things and appreciate our surroundings for once, totally agree with you that it’s important to take a break from screens where possible too. This slow weekend is the first of many! F

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  4. In touring parts of the UK we have frequently ended up in places with little or no mobile reception or wifi generally. The most extreme example was four nights in The Victorian Cottage (aka TV series) which it is possible to rent on the Acton Scott estate in Shropshire. We rate it as probably one of the most memorable things we’ve ever done. While not technically minimal – the victorians certainly had a lot of equipment – it was the closest thing we could get to a pre technological culture, and challenged assumptions all round. Yes, there was a ‘cheat’ plug box for the cleaners – but we used it sparingly.

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