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Going Off Grid: Disconnecting to Reconnect

As a creative working in the London whirlwind, the constant buzz of city life, the flicker of notifications and the overwhelming sense of creative blockage was a familiar cycle that had my brain felt fried. I knew I needed a break, not just from work, but from the ever-present screen. So, a few months back, I escaped the British winter, traded my keyboard for a kayak paddle and let my heart led me back to my homeland, Argentina.

I have always been drawn to the raw beauty of Patagonia, so I decided to venture along the Seven Lakes Route on a family road trip and immerse myself in the wilderness, away from mobile phone coverage.

I have to admit though, when I imagined a break, a 20+ hour drive with my divorced parents wasn’t exactly what I was picturing, but turned out it was what I needed. Living abroad can be tough at times and as much as they’re part of my daily life, going on holiday together was the perfect way to make up for the lost time. The drive from Buenos Aires to San Martín de los Andes, Neuquén definitely tested our endurance.

Mate was our companion on the road, which is always perfect for long trips. It's a traditional Argentinian infusion, similar to green tea, that is shared and is a bit of a social “ritual”, a bonding experience.

At first, I was a scared of being disconnected from the outside world. I had the urge to check the news, see what friends were up to, flip through Instagram stories from people I don’t even know and stay plugged into the constant stream of information. It’s what I’m used to. But being in the middle of nowhere with no signal at all was the perfect detox. It only took a few seconds for the anxieties to fade and to stop thinking about whatever I was missing out, and in its place, a sense of calm and awe returned.

With no meticulously planned itineraries, this trip was a true chance to slow down, breathe in the crisp Patagonian air, and simply be present. We spent our days swimming in crystal clear lakes, playing games on the beach and having silly arguments with my brother over who controlled the music in the car. It felt like we were kids again.

We spent lazy afternoons soaking up the sun just listening to the ripples on the shore, paying attention to small little things that I hadn’t given myself the chance to do before, going on hikes in the nature and getting lost in the woods. Friendly neighbourhood pets greeted us on evening walks under skies bursting with stars. And adding to the magic was my dad’s amazing cooking, he can transform the simplest ingredients into Michelin-star worthy meals. We savoured every bite, delighting in the flavours and the love that went into each dish.

The highlight was visiting Villa Traful, a hidden gem in the heart of the Patagonian wilderness. The journey was challenging, it was a treacherous two-hour drive on a gravel path. The constant rumble of rocks and the steep inclines made my heart pound and the world spin. But once we arrived, it was worth every bump and turn. I’ve never seen anything like it. The snow-capped peaks reflected in the tranquil waters of the lake and lush greenery stretching as far as the eye could behold. It was a scene straight out of a postcard.

My mum, a water enthusiast, dove into the pristine lake before we could even take anything out of the car. While my dad, upon meeting some fishermen on the shore, dashed back for his fishing line and joined them in a split second. My brother and I weren’t as active, we simply basked in the sun, soaking in the serenity of our surroundings. My creative block, which had loomed large before the trip, began to feel insignificant.

In a world that never stops moving, prioritising mental well-being and disconnecting from the digital world is more crucial than ever, especially for those of us in the creative industry. Patagonia reassured me of this, it was a journey back to myself, back to my family, and a profound reminder of the simple joys that lie just beyond the digital horizon.

This fresh perspective translated into a renewed energy for my projects, a true homecoming to my creative self. The weight of exhaustion had lifted, my mind is now clear and my heart full of memories.

So, the next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the digital noise, drowning in deadlines and screen fatigue, consider going off the grid. Patagonia may be calling, but any place that allows you to disconnect and reconnect with yourself will do the trick. After all, a healthy mind is a creative mind, and sometimes, the most productive thing we can do is step away and breathe.

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