Our last night on the Wheaton river had finally come. I wasn’t quite ready for it. I’d gotten used to ‘off the grid’ life. Storing perishable items in a cooler on the front porch had become normal.
I was okay with not having phone reception. In fact, the lack of electricity meant that my mobile battery was always dead anyway, so it didn’t really phase me that I couldn’t use it. And how can I forget – cooking on the wood-stove with a headlamp to see the contents. That was always hilarious! Particularly because it’s impossible to regulate the heat. Things go from hot to burnt very quickly.
Our day-to-day tasks had purpose. Instead of worrying about trivial “city issues” our thoughts were around what the next meal would be and how we would dispose of the garbage afterwards. About how to ration our limited supply of drinking water for daily activities like teeth-cleaning and bathing.
Those things mattered here, yet those were things I didn’t think twice about living in the city. Back in the city, I was blindly consuming what felt like unlimited resources, and worrying about things that really didn’t matter. Being here forced me to acknowledge the wastefulness of my everyday life. The experience helped me understand, on a whole new level, how ridiculous the stress of modern life really is.
We live in a world of consumption, and in turn, our happiness becomes consumed by it.
Out here, I didn’t need much in the form of “things” to be happy. Should anyone.. really?
We began our last night of cabin-side festivities with mulled wine by the fire. This time we could have a huge fire, because we had a lot of remaining wood to get through.
Our time here was drawing to a close and there was a jovial mood in the air. We weren’t concerned about the Northern lights anymore. We were just appreciating where we were and what had come to pass while we’d been out here.
I heard Ewa yell from outside, “Guys! Come outside! Now!” We followed her voice outside, throwing on layers of clothing along the way. Here are the photos Ryan captured, of what we saw.
The timing was perfect. Rob Costlow’s song, “Not Alone” played on Ryan’s mobile just as the sky, and surrounding landscape, lit up so bright it felt like afternoon. Like the title of the song, it didn’t feel like we were alone.
It felt like something otherworldly was visiting us. And in essence, it was.
The green particles spread across the sky and moved so rapidly that they appeared to flash. Here is the video of what we saw. It was like nothing I’d ever seen, even though I’d seen the Northern lights before. As the locals explained, no vision of the Northern lights is ever the same. Every night is something new, something special.
Anyone can say they’ve seen the Northern lights, but they wouldn’t have seen what you saw.
I suppose that’s why the experience felt so personal. Why it felt like we were the only ones watching, as they moved overhead. I can’t imagine a better form of entertainment. It was so captivating.
The way of life out here is so unique. So wild. So beautiful. If I’ve learnt anything from it all, it’s this; experiencing an “off the grid” lifestyle, even for a short while, wakes you up to what you need as a human being to be happy. You’ll most likely find, like me, that you don’t need a lot.
If you’re looking for a unique way to explore an unfamiliar place, I highly recommend going off the grid. Although it appears remote and humble, you’ll be surprised what riches you’ll find out there.
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