For the past month I have been living in jungle town of Missuahalli in the heart of Ecuador’s Amazon Basin. I have spent my time working with a volunteer organisation that constructs sanitation and provides assistance with teaching English to the communities in the surrounding area.
I spend my days waking up early to the sounds of birds, taking a canoe downstream through the rivers that feed into the Amazon; never ceasing to be enchanted by the stunning natural beauty that surrounds me. I swim and climb and hike and I get to play and interact with the happiest children, I think, on the planet. I absolutely love it!
My stay has certainly been both fun and rewarding but most surprisingly it’s been meditative. Living in the jungle with very, very limited access to unreliable and slow Wi-Fi has left me almost completely disconnected from the world outside of Missuahalli.
It’s given me a chance to think and reflect on this past year of travel and adventure and also appreciate how much time I spend distracting myself and not being in the moment. Don’t get me wrong I think the internet, social media and online communities are great. They eliminate time and space and connect people and ideas with one another. I really do believe that the good of these technologies far outweighs the bad, as we connect and share with others on a global scale.
The problem, however, is like all things sometimes we need to learn how to moderate ourselves… not depend on it, but use it to enrich our lives. The results? I honestly can’t remember the last time I have been this happy.
I consider myself to be pretty happy in general; my outlook allows me to find the good in almost any situation, but the jungle has changed me. Without the distractions of the world, I am so much more present and can really connect with the beauty that surrounds me every day that I wake up in paradise.
Every moment seems meaningful and instead of feeling bored all the time I feel fulfilled, satisfied with my day. I feel there is a paradox in the busy lives we lead, we constantly complain about never having enough time for anything, yet we constantly crave something, anything to “kill time”.
It’s interesting when you truly do have all the time in the world, the last thing you feel like doing is killing it. You just do what makes you happy in that moment. Maybe it’s going for a walk, getting a juice, reading a book, going to bed early or even waiting around hopelessly for a bit of Wi-Fi signal, it never really feels like a waste.
I have been using this time to look deep inside myself and the happiness I am finding from this opportunity is worth a thousand life times of searching… happiness just seems so simple.
More and more I am discovering that time is opportunity, age is opportunity, it isn’t a given that someone older should know more, understand more or be more, just simply that they have a great deal more opportunity to do so.
I don’t think it ever matters how old you are, you are never too young or never too old to find wisdom, to find happiness. It is all about the opportunities you choose to take advantage of, you just have to make sure you are not so distracted you miss them.
If you have a similar experience about being disconnected or want to try this experiment for yourself please leave a comment below.
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien
Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments
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