We never could have anticipated the state of the world when we picked a publication date for Getting Away, our latest book. The timing couldn’t have been worse in a lot of ways, but I also think the message of this book is more relevant now than ever.
I initially wrote Getting Away: 75 Everyday Practices for Finding Balance in our Always-On World to capture a series of simple practices that allow you to get away without going to the woods. Though much of Getaway is about spending time alone in nature, the spirit, at a higher level, is about making meaningful choices. It’s about how we spend our time, and therefore, our lives, that allows us to better know ourselves through disconnection and introspection. Making these choices isn’t easy, and that’s why we have to be deliberate about it.
At its core, Getaway does something wonderful. It forces these choices with a pause, creating an environment where you can just be. It helps you change your context, thrusting you into quiet and ferrying you away from all the noise of day to day life. In the quiet, you pay attention, take stock of the habits that add value and joy to your life, and confront the habits that don’t.
There is no perfect recipe for finding balance between work and leisure, connection and disconnection, city and nature. And if there were, a recipe that would work for me would almost certainly not work for everyone. This book is an offering of little sparks that just might start a fire. I hope you will explore them, pick and choose what might work for you, and dare to try a couple of practices that you might initially look past. They run the gamut: some are as uncomplicated as turning off notifications or subscribing to the print edition, and others require a bit more effort, like writing postcards to friends. I’ve spent my life trying varying combinations of these 75. I don’t exercise them every day, and I’ve never been able to master them all. I don’t expect that from myself or anyone else, but if just one practice improves one person’s life in a small, but meaningful, way, then I’m happy.
Getting Away isn’t about taking a trip, throwing away your cell phone, canceling your wifi, or changing your life from top to bottom. It isn’t a magic formula, a how-to, or ten-step process. Rather, it’s a collection of ideas that have worked in my pursuit of more balance; a study of the small things to do that make differences that matter. Those things and what matters in your own life are up to you. This book, I hope, is just a jumping off point for your own discovery.
Preorder Getting Away: 75 Everyday Practices for Finding Balance in our Always-On World and receive a free, limited edition set of Getaway pencils while supplies last.