My pre-arthritic fingers needed a rest from the continuous typing, scrolling, and tapping.
My mind desired clarity not tethered to a timeline and born out of a lack of distraction.
My spirit craved the type of energy that occurs effortlessly from an authentic connection, refreshingly honest conversations, and pure untouched landscapes.
Three days at Lodged Out provided all that and then some.
I had been keeping an eye on the tech-free camp since my friend Haley attended their inaugural camp in Idaho. (She did a great feature about it on She Explores. You can read it here. ) It encapsulated so much of what I love and live for - connection and community, creativity, the outdoors, and the chance to really unplug.
When I found out there was going to be a winter camp just over the pass from Seattle, all arrows were pointing to 'sign up'. The decision was one of the best I've made for myself in the past six months. Now that I've been home and had time to process the experience, I can see that my participation was an important investment for both my personal wellbeing and professional growth.
About Lodged Out
Lodged Out - Tall Timber Style
It's hard to imagine a more picturesque place than Tall Timber Ranch for a retreat. We had the entire grounds to ourselves and bunked in cute A-frame and bunk-house style cabins. Situated about 30 miles Northwest of Leavenworth, Tall Timber borders the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area and is surrounded by alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains. The area became our playground every morning as we strapped on Nordic skis or snowshoes and tromped (or glided) around the camp.
One morning we went searching for a waterfall, the next morning a group of us sat by a glacier river and talked about everything and nothing. The first 3-4 hours of the day were free to spend however we liked. And we liked to spend that time together. Distraction free. Cell phone free. Any type of screen free. My guess is that the lack of distraction led to a more immediate connection with one another. There was a presence in conversations - eye contact, intuitive body language, thoughtful questions - all of the signs that point to active listening. There was a distinct sense that not only did we all want to be there psychically, but we wanted to be there for each other emotionally.
Lodged Out - Workshops + Speakers
I spend a lot of time recreating and promoting an outdoor lifestyle, so I was eager to learn about how to be a better advocate for the outdoors. If you're interested in learning how to do that, give Katie a follow. She's a fantastic resource.
I also spend a lot of time writing, both personal journaling and for client work. With anything you do often, it's easy to slip into a pattern or habitual way of doing it. My writing had started to sound all the same to me. I was hoping the workshop would rattle some dormant creativity in me and it did! Erin taught us about lyrical essays and gave us a framework for creating our own. I've shared the essay I came up with at the bottom of this post if you're interested in reading.
After our workshops, it was whiskey and dinner time followed by speakers and fireside chats. Being the grandma that I am, I rarely made it past 10pm. I would feel a high from the day that would carry me to the edge of the night before crashing from emotional exhaustion. But it was the good kind of emotional exhaustion. The kind that emanates from giving people your full attention, talking and listening for hours, and trying new things.
Bye Bye, Tall Timber
When the time came to leave, I experienced a range of emotions. I was creativity inspired, ready to start new projects and dive into work. I was somber about leaving new friends. I was anxious to depart the quiet of the mountains and enter back into the chaos of the city, the chaos of everyday technology. And I was motivated to be a better outdoor activist, a better ally to WOC, a smarter entrepreneur, a more vulnerable and present friend, daughter, sister and wife. All of this as a result of taking 3 days to unplug with 35 or so creative strangers in the woods.