I recently returned from a relaxed stay in another tiny house and felt like sharing an old fashioned photo-loaded travel diary type of post. You know, the ones that used to be all over blogs before Instagram and SEO came into our lives? So, without further ado, here is how I spent two days in a cabin outside London.
As part of my 21 for 2021 I set out to turn off my phone one weekend a month and so far it has been going well, which to be fair wasn’t too hard as I had little reason to even need a phone.
To be transparent: I don’t go offline completely and still use my laptop, but since I use my laptop differently from my phone (I have to sit down, get my laptop, start up my laptop) I don’t mind it. For me, this is mainly about my phone and letting go of the habit of constantly checking Whatsapp, email and socials all day long: if I’m not on Instagram, I’m probably pinning on Pinterest or checking e-mails.
We’re 9 months in, so what have I learned so far?
I feel so much less restless and am much more focused throughout and afterwards. It’s probably due to a combination of not feeling guilty for doom-scrolling and putting my energy into other things.
Social media isn’t the problem for me, the attachment to my phone seems to be the main issue. I always thought I’m not addicted to social media and that it doesn’t impact me and I have to say that the past 9 month did prove that, but it’s the constant useless checking that drains most of my energy.
Having my Kindle app on my phone is not a good idea. I read books on my phone, that’s a good thing, right? Yet I often end up on Instagram or Pinterest. Sometimes it’s because I get distracted by a message and sometimes I look things up on Google and end up on the Buttered Cat Paradox Wiki page.
Apart from your mother, no one notices you’re not online. I don’t announce when I’m going offline and no one initially noticed – or didn’t find it alarming enough to check in on me. Apart from my mother, but that’s what they’re for, right? Nowadays most people often check in with me to see how the weekend was, or they tell me they went offline as well.
I see 50% more dogs while I’m in a queue or waiting for something. I also noticed people who queue together don’t really talk to each other. They say a few things, but there are no conversations, funny enough it’s often about something they saw or read on their phones.
I do miss taking photos on the go. I take so many photos and most of those are for myself. Like I’ve cooked some great meals on my detox weekends, but where is the proof? Sometimes I get my big standalone camera, but when I’m on a walk and see something I want to take a photo of I either ask my boyfriend or go back later and take it – though this has only happened once.
In the past, I’ve tried to extend this to weekdays, by staying off my phone from 7pm onwards, but it never quite worked. In addition, I’ve chosen weekends where I wasn’t meeting anyone or using public transport alone, which made it easier.
So, my next goal is to:
detox twice a month for the rest of the year
try a weekend detox where I go outside my neighbourhood sans phone to see how I manage
keep my phone out of sight so I don’t subconsciously grab it when eating, watching TV or when out with friends
buy a Kindle or tablet for reading books so I don’t get distracted and end up in another Wikipedia rollercoaster
I remember the years when I could dedicate a whole weekend to London Open City and do all the queueing and running around from place to place, trying to fit in as much as humanly possible. As I’ve crossed off many places in the last few years, I’ve slowed down and focused on only doing one or two attractions across the two days.
This year brought me to City Hall, also known as the Snail or the Testicle, that sits on the South Bank and currently houses the London Assembly and the offices of the London Mayor and staff. As they are actually moving at the end of the year, I figured it might be a good idea to go visit it now, as it might not even be on the list in 2022.
If you ever get the chance it’s definitely worth a visit as there’s lots of architectural quirks to enjoy inside the building, plus the viewing deck is a great place to spot all the nearby landmarks.
The Chamber where the Greater London Authority (that’s the Mayor of London and the London Assembly) discuss important issues underneath a hypnotic spiralling walkway.
The building is designed by the same people as the nearby Gherkin and the not so nearby Reichstag in Berlin, so you might recognise the similar use of glass and the helical staircases.
Take in the gorgeous views from the top floor: from Tower Bridge to the Tower of London and the Shard.
I know technically we have another three weeks before Autumn starts, but since the weather has been so all over the place that I’ve been in Autumnal spirits for months and I’m embracing it. And I’m not even going to hold on to the idea of a late Summer. I can’t wait for red, orange and yellow leaves, cooking all the soups and layering all my clothes.
Here are some other things I’m looking forward to this Autumn.
In September, hundreds of buildings fling open their doors during the Open House Weekend, allowing everyone to have a wander around everything from 10 Downing Street, to the Gherkin and Bank of England. I won’t be going to any of those, but I hope to pick up a few random ones that do walk-ins on the day itself.
I have booked another cabin stay for later in the month. I had the best weather when I stayed in cabins earlier this year so it will be really interesting to see what that’s like during the colder weather. As long as there’s a stove and some wood I should be fine.
I’m done with walks around the block. But with the ones further out I’m not done yet! Sevenoaks and Box Hill are high on my list for this time of the year. Both tend to be crowded during the Summer months, so that leaves Autumn and Spring for the quieter walks.
Visit the Museum of the Home that opened earlier this year after being closed for restoration. I’ve also heard great things about the museum’s restaurant, Molly’s Cafe, so that’s another reason to head on over.
I can’t leave out chestnut picking and roasting. Though with this weather I’m not sure when and if they’ll even grow this year, but I’m even happy with a handful of sweet chestnuts. Plus the peaceful walk to the actual trees is worth it either way.
Check out some films at the London Film Festival! Probably mostly online, but I’m not even bothered as I won’t have to deal with annoying people next to me. I also have a backlog of horror movies that I want to see and Autumn is just the most fun season to watch them. Especially on rainy days.
I only got introduced to Pumpkin Pie during Friendsgiving and now that the person that organised Friendsgiving has moved back to the States I won’t have Pumpkin Pie unless I bake it myself. And that’s exactly the last dish on my 10 Things To Cook/Bake in 2021 list. Bring on the cinnamon, ginger and cloves!
I’m not sure when exactly, but in a few years I’m planning on moving to a place and becoming self-sufficient. Now, that’s not something you can do overnight, so I’ve been working on it for some time now.
It’s been on the ‘one day list’ and though I always thought it would take a few decades before that happens, the past 18 months have definitely made me rethink my plans and move it up a bit. read more
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