It may have been television, video games, and the advent of internet. It could have been overprotective parents fueled by media-induced child abduction panic. Perhaps it was that bulldozer paving the last green space to make way for a strip mall. Likely, it was all of the above.
Kids were spending less time outside. Dramatically less.
We all saw it, but nobody paid much attention until Richard Louv dropped a bomb with his 2005 book “Last Child in the Woods”. Louv chronicled the rise of what he called “Nature Deficit Disorder” and shone a light on the profound psychological, societal, and environmental implications of a disconnect between children and the environment.
Fast forward ten years, and not much has changed, despite the best efforts of many educators. Kids are still disconnected from nature, and spend way too much time in front of screens. In some ways, the problem has only gotten worse. Even in 2005, it was hard to imagine the ubiquitous role that mobile devices would play in the lives of today’s children, with still poorly understood developmental and societal implications.
The biggest problem though, is that it’s not just kids that suffer from nature deficit disorder. The rise of connectivity has affected all of us, and rather than making life easier, has burdened us with new stresses, obligations, and pressures. Most adults (myself included) are slaves to a tiny screen that we sheepishly prioritize over real life interactions with strangers, loved ones, and the wild world around us. Many of us spend more time interacting with photos of wilderness on Instagram than we do in real life! The sad truth is, we all suffer from a little bit of Nature Deficit Disorder, and there’s only one way to solve it.
Break free! Run to the forest, the ocean! Seek out the wild spaces! Take your clothes off and run naked through the wilderness! Unleash your best primal scream!
Okay, you don’t have to do all of that, although it might do you good (also, let your neighbors know before you get naked and release your primal screen, they’ll thank you). But you should find a way into nature as soon as possible, and a kayak trip is a great place to start. It doesn’t have to be a kayak trip of course, and it doesn’t have to be with us, but a paddle into the wild is one thing we can guarantee will do the trick. Seriously, nature is like a medication, but with no maximum daily dose.
We advertise the great scenery that guests experience on our kayak trips, but that’s only because it’s challenging to properly describe the real reason you should join us. It’s hard to put into words or a photo the life affirming experience that a wilderness experience can provide. At its most basic, nature strips away the petty stresses and worries of everyday life and boils life down to its mortal essence. Food, water, shelter, companionship. Not to say that you will go without basic comforts, just that you will find what really matters now. You might return with a new perspective on life. At the very least, you’ll return with some new friends and memories of great campfire conversations with not a single glowing screen in sight.
So do it. Unplug and go kayaking. We promise you won’t regret it.