How To Escape the Noise When You Can't Travel

How To Escape the Noise When You Can't Travel

By Jim White

During the lockdowns of 2020 my business was closed for many months.

Being somewhat of a fitness and health nut, I had no problem working out at home. I knew what sort of bodyweight training I could do to stay fit. But I also craved long hikes. Adventures. The uncertainty of the world had me feeling like many people -- on edge. I had excess nervous energy. It needed an outlet. Nature. The great outdoors. Getting lost on a long hike in the woods. Mountain views and forest streams.

The problem was that my usual process was not available to me. Normally I'd find a cool hike or three and rent a nearby hotel or cabin. I'd head out for a few days to get in touch with nature and away from the buzz of civilization. This was not an option for quite awhile. I had to find another way that required no hotels, no cabins and no travel. By necessity, I found how to escape the noise daily without going on an epic trip.

I took a walk to a nearby park. It was one of those local parks that you know inside and out. As a kid, I played baseball and soccer there. Swam in the indoor pool and skated at the ice rink in winter. We had picnics and parties there. I spent many hours in that park. But on that day in 2020 I found these little trails I had never walked before. By chance, I saw a tiny opening in the trees and decided to check it out. Something told me to see what was in there. Intuition maybe.

There was a narrow trail that ran alongside the creek. It was short. The entire hike took maybe ten minutes but it was just what I needed.

That unassuming trail became my daily escape. A sanctuary of sorts. While the world was in a time of great uncertainty, I had my calm. My stability. Being surrounded by trees, with the soothing sounds of the creek flowing along the trail.

Each morning I would look forward to starting the day with that quick hike. Even though it wasn't in the mountains and there weren't any spectacular views at the peak, it was just what I needed. A daily refuge in nature. To be with the birds, the insects, the dirt, rocks and leaves. Just breathing in the fresh air. Taking a break from society to come back rejuvenated.

I was no stranger to the benefits of hiking and spending time in nature. As a young kid, my family had a log cabin in the woods where we spent many days in summer and fall. I was a nature lover through and through. But this was different. This was a specific solution to a new problem. And it turned into a daily habit.

After a few weeks of this daily walk, it became a natural part of my day. I no longer had to even think about doing it. It was a given. This coincides with the idea that habits take a few weeks to form. It wasn't my intention to create a new healthy habit, but it happened regardless.

I craved those little hikes. My day wouldn't be complete without them. That experience stuck with me and taught me a few things I still utilize now. When I feel like I'm getting away from what is important. Losing my focus. Feeling “off.” Very often it is because I get away from a daily communication with nature. It's time to simplify and escape the noise. Even if only for ten minutes.

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