I just returned from 10 days in Scotland. First, I was struck by the beauty of their country. Everything is so green, even the mountains. However, I also noticed that most of their dwellings were made of rock and were either white or gray. So, Scotland is a country of contrast – green, white or gray and water. Lots and lots of water. The lochs are beautiful and plentiful!
And, the cows and sheep were certainly plentiful, as they seemed to be in every field as far as you could see. The thing I loved best was exploring the ruins of castles and cathedrals – far more interesting than those that had been restored. It really made me realize what a horrible citizen I would have been if I had to live in a cold, drafty, dark castle. Yes, it would be nice to be queen, but not at the expense of the luxuries I’ve come to expect.
The cell phone and internet coverage was “spotty at best”. That is a direct quote from the hotel where we stayed – and it is an accurate description. It was difficult at first to adapt to the fact that there were no beeps, rings or tones alerting me to incoming messages, calls or notifications, but I adjusted. In fact, after the first day, it actually became enjoyable not to have my cell phone always in my hand checking for things and feeling compelled to respond immediately.
Instead, I had the pleasure of enjoying the company of my husband, sister and her husband. As we drove around central and southern Scotland, I realized that I am so often “plugged in” that I’m actually “checked out” to my surroundings. We walk and text, some of us drive and text (please don’t do this), we text while having a meal with friends and of course, we text first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening. We will even interrupt face-to-face conversations just to check our cells for incoming messages.
What those 10 days brought me was some peace and quiet. Mind you, we were busy from early morning to late evening exploring and sightseeing, but eliminating the stress of being in constant communication was a pleasure I hadn’t expected. In fact, my cell phone never truly realized it was out of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area as the time never did change. And, I learned not to even care!
Upon landing back in Cincinnati, messages, emails and notifications began dumping wildly into my phone and I immediately felt the stress that comes with the high expectation of immediate communication. We know that everyone today has a cell and most of us in the business world have SmartPhones. So, when we email or text someone, we really do expect them to respond back fairly quickly. And, when they don’t we feel ignored and usually pick up the phone and call them to see what the delay is.
I must say that as beautiful as Scotland is, I love the USA and all of the luxuries that we take for granted – central heat, cars with automatic transmissions, cheaper gas, tender beef, ice in my drink and roads that are wider than 1 lane. But, doing without those things was worth the 10 days of unplugged peace and relaxation.