Posts by this author:

Diary of an insomniac

The only person who knows how to sleep is the insomniac. Warm milk. Check. Lavender Oil. Check. 10 pm every night. Check. He is also the only person who is awake. Again.

View Post

Quitting Instagram and choosing life

quitting Instagram and choosing life

I have chosen to quit Instagram. Completely. For most – I even presume all – of you, this might come as a surprise. You probably didn’t even realise I had an Instagram account to begin with. Well, I actually used to have two accounts. A private account where I shared pictures with my friends and a public one where I shared pictures of my meals. When I started my blog, I synced my public account to my blog. But by that time I had already stopped sharing pictures. (Which is why you probably didn’t know I had an Instagram account.) And now I have deleted both accounts completely. Here are the reasons I decided to quit Instagram.

Living Slow

In the last couple of months, I have been trying to live a more authentic life. And at the moment, my version of authenticity means slow. Very slow. I have been creating a space in my life when I can just be. Where life can unfold without goals or plans or to-do lists. It hasn’t been easy – because our world, of course, is anything but slow -, but I have been trying. The one thing that kept tainting my progress with living slow was Instagram. Because Instagram is not slow. That was the first reason I decided to quit.

Letting go of comparison

I consume content on various different platforms. Blogs, newspapers, magazines, YouTube, Netflix and Spotify. And these platforms serve me. I am able to follow and read about the amazing work other people are doing. I am able to get inspired, touched, uplifted and informed. Many of the ways in which we humans communicate with each other are highly beneficial to me. But Instagram is not one of them. With this particular social medium, I used to constantly get pulled into the dark hole better known as the ‘explore tab’. Even if I tried to just look at the posts of my friends or those I enjoyed following, the temptation to scroll through endless pictures of inspiring yoga girls was too big. And so every time I left Instagram, I felt deflated in my sense of self-worth. Letting go of comparison anxiety was reason number two to quit Instagram.

Growing authentically

The last reason I decided to quit Instagram has to do with my blog. At the end of 2018, I had already deleted my personal Instagram account. But I kept my public account with the idea that one day I might need it to grow my blog. Having an active social media presence (particularly on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest) is paramount to increasing your blog readership. I know that. Since I didn’t have any of the other platforms – other than Facebook Messenger – I felt I needed to keep Instagram as a strategic marketing move. But as I have been honing in on the type of presence I want to create online, I realised that growing my blog quickly – through a medium, I don’t enjoy – doesn’t sit right with me. Once I had made that realisation, I was finally able to cut all Instagram ties.

It has been a few months now living without Instagram completely and I haven’t regretted my decision a single bit. I feel lighter and firmer grounded in life at the same time. Life isn’t perfect. Or picture perfectly slow. But my main source of fast-paced anxiety has been removed from my life. And I think that is worth a lot.

What is your relationship with Instagram?

Making fire in the rain | My experience at Howl Bushcraft

Howl Bushcraft

Recently, I proclaimed that I enjoy nature. I made this proclamation after visiting some more natural surroundings last year, such as the Atlas Mountains and the Andalusian hills. For Christmas, I asked my mom to gift me the book Walden by Henry Thoreau. I only wanted this book, because I was irked that I couldn’t answer the following question as a philosophy graduate. ‘Why is existentialism still a thing, but does nobody care about transcendentalism anymore?’ And somehow I thought Walden contained some answers. (It did, but so did Google.) My mother, however, thought that my Christmas wish contained a longing for a simpler life in nature. Or something like that. (For those who don’t know Walden, it is a semi-autobiographical book about living simply in nature.)

So my mom decided to give my boyfriend and I a day course in bushcrafting. Bushcrafting is the art of using ‘wilderness skills’ that allow you to survive – someone on Wikipedia would say thrive – in nature. Or something like that. I knew nothing about the art of bushcraft before I received this present. And honestly, I wasn’t too keen on spending a day pretending to live like a cavewoman, when I knew full well that there was electricity and plumbing only a few kilometres from the basecamp. I guess my love for nature was more conceptual than practical.

How bushcraft

So it was with a healthy dose of reluctance that I rocked up at the parking lot of Howl Bushcraft a few weeks ago. It was a wet and chilly February morning that lent itself much better to staying in bed than being outdoors. After a little wait on the parking lot, we were greeted by our trainer for the day. Immediately, you could tell my boyfriend and I didn’t take this whole thing very seriously. While our trainer was decked out in navy green outdoor clothing and the other participants all looked ready for a long hike, my boyfriend and I showed up with an M&S shopping bag that contained our stuff for the day. At that moment the healthy amount of reluctance turned into an unhealthy amount.

But as soon as we started the course, I decided to give this day an honest go. I got cracking with making a shelter out of only sticks and leaves. I learned how to carve sticks into spears (well, pegs technically). I tied some fancy boy/girl scout knots. And I made fire from scratch for the first time in my life. In the rain, I might add. After a full day of learning the ropes of outdoor living, I really feel like I could survive in the British countryside for a night. To the Mount Everest climbers of the world this might not sound impressive, but to me it was a massive accomplishment.

Howl bushcraft

More than a feeling of accomplishment, I left that day with a huge sense of gratitude. Because that day happened to turn into one of the best days I have had in a long time. Better than any meditation session, the course really managed to pull me into the present. As this whole ‘wildernessing’ was so new to me, I was either intensely listening or intensely doing at all times. There was no time for troubling thoughts. By the end of the day, my fingers were frozen, but my heart was glowing from the roaring fire of happiness that had grown inside me while tending to the real-life fire in front of me. Of course, it helped that the trainer of Howl Bushcraft and his assistant could not have been kinder and were so passionate about their craft that I couldn’t help but get sucked into the whole experience.   

I left the day not only with a new set of skills but also with a renewed zest for life. I cannot wait to go back into the natural environment. This time, with slightly less of a ‘pretty little princess’ attitude.  If you have never bushcrafted and skipped the whole boy/girl scout phase as a child, I can highly recommend booking yourself onto a beginner’s course.

It is never to late to learn some self-sufficiency!