“Get up, we gotta get going!”
A rough voice rattled me from my three-hour-long slumber.
With sleep still crusted in the corners of my eyes, I poured my six-foot frame into the passenger’s seat of my dad’s pickup. It was 2 a.m. on a Friday. A time when no diurnal creature should ever function.
A pair of grueling twelve-hour drives, choppy waters, and fresh fish would consume the next seven days of my life. Fishing boat in tow, we set out for the wild north of Ontario, Canada.
Arriving at fish camp we began unloading the contents of the truck and boat into our living quarters for the week. The cozy dilapidated cabin was the only thing that separated us from the Canadian elements. The fishing shack, void of any remnants of the twenty-first century, separated me from my schedules, routines, and the creature comforts of modernity and technology.
On the wide-open waters of Canada’s wilderness, my once sacred smartphone was reduced to the function of little more than a camera and an mp3 player. The silver cord that linked me to the outside world and, more importantly, the World Wide Web had been severed.
The boats would leave harbor early each day. The major fish feeding periods were either the early mornings or during golden hour before sunset. Professional deadlines, goals, and objectives were replaced by the urge to hook the catch of lifetime and bring home enough fish to eat for dinner.
My evenings were consumed with fish cleaning, cooking, feasting, and rehashing big fish stories of years gone by. This was a lot of work for a vacation, but the rewards were still plentiful. The spoils were only my memories and the minutes I spent with my father.
The habits I’ve worked so hard to build were broken like a taut fishing line shredded by the teeth of a Northern Pike. Most importantly, the solace I needed for writing was shattered by the noise of boat motors, crashing waves, and float planes buzzing by our base camp.
Writing time was replaced by long days on the water, and any hint of creativity was quickly transformed into crass jokes and witty banter. I caught myself drifting while ideas for essays and blog posts flashed into my mind.
This vacation was a vacation from things I tolerated in everyday life. But it was also a vacation from things I enjoy, like writing. This brief escape made me appreciate my schedule and the order of my days – especially the time I usually have to reflect through ramblings and musings in my notebook.
The threat of Monday loomed and the return to schedules and objectives awaited. I returned to my routines with a fresh set of eyes, new experiences – and the realization that writing itself is like a vacation from reality.