20150719_100532_resizedDear Traveler,

I returned last night from a comparatively simple adventure—a weekend canoe trip along a timid stretch of the Colorado River. I say “simple” because while it was indeed an adventure, I didn’t travel to a far-off land like Greenland or Africa or the Galapagos Islands, which might be more common among the destinations that I write about. The Colorado River is just down the road from our home in Boulder.

This trip was among the most peaceful and enjoyable adventures that I have taken in years, despite the fact that we escorted a dozen teenagers, including my own wise-ass son, his wise-ass friends, and a handful of exchange students from France. So how could a weekend on the river be peaceful when teenagers are present? It’s simple: none of us had cell phones!

Not only didn’t I receive any emails about a missed meal preference on a safari or a cancelled flight to Anchorage (those problems are all handled by our Operations team anyway, I just like to get them so I can worry, which seems to be a strength of mine), the kids actually interacted with each other and with nature. They played games, had glow stick fights, and floated a mile down the river at dusk in their life jackets. They built a camp, they told jokes, and they took an 11pm night hike alone. While we may have been a little worried about 12 teens exploring the desert in pitch dark (there was only a sliver of a moon), we were encouraged that they wanted to experience nature, no matter the time.

Nature can indeed heal and bring peace—it just takes a little focus and some discipline to leave your phone at home.

I hope to see you out there,