Langdale Valley, The Lake District

Going off grid is great or is it?

Last week I switched off my mobile and unplugged my laptop. Going off grid is great or is it? For five days I shunned the digital world to commune with nature. In other words, I went camping in The Lake District.

Back to basics in a little corner of Cumbria

The Lake District. Three words containing beauty and cherished memories. A place that keeps calling me back. And on and off, we’ve rocked up at the same no electric hook up campsite for eighteen years. This collection of farmer’s fields in Cumbria certainly makes their mark. I chatted to a lovely woman while we did our post BBQ washing up who’d been coming back for twenty five years. Their annual pilgrimage marked the start of their camping calendar. And another chatty lady returned once a month with her partner during the summer to enjoy the splendour of the Langdale Valley.

No social media for five days. No scrolling through feeds, no liking, no sharing and no commenting. Could you cope? Could I cope? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking social media, but I do sometimes suspect I’m getting a bit too tied to my small rectangular electronic device. I check for updates when I wake, after my lunch and then in the evening. I’ve swapped one more biscuit with a cup of coffee for just one more finger swipe. You can see how popular social media is in everyday life. How often do you see people head down studying their screens while walking along the street, or sitting in cafes, at their desks or anywhere else for that matter. It’s easy to see how it’s so addictive.

Did I find my five-day digital detox wonderfully liberating?

From arriving on site and pitching the tent our car doesn’t budge until we pack up and leave. We donned our walking boots (luckily no waterproofs required until the last day), slopped on suntan lotion, sunhats and set off along the network of paths, tracks and lanes that fan out from the campsite. And even after eighteen years we’re still discovering new routes and peaceful places to sink into the grass and munch on our picnic lunches. And all the while enjoying the stunning scenery.

By late afternoon we’d return and relax outside the tent with a cuppa or something stronger while gazing at the lovely Langdale Pikes. We’d lazily chat about nothing in particular or disappear into a good book. And not once did I wonder how many notifications I had or how many people were emojing (is that even a real word?) my posts. For five days I went off grid and it was great. I needed that time to switch off and slow down. 

Back on the grid in a little corner of Tyne & Wear 

And now I’m back on social media, I’m updating my website and checking my emails. We are digitally interconnected and with that comes enormous benefits. I’m a self-published author who uses Facebook, Instagram, X and TikTok to connect with readers, with authors, with friends, family and the world in general. My paperback novels might be physically sold in bookshops, but those retailers have online stores to promote their products. My novels are also sold by multiple online only sellers and both Apokeri Bay and Saving Elora are also available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. I’m certainly not going to knock social media and the digital world because they allow me to do what I love – create stories for readers to enjoy. But at the same time occasionally going off grid is great.