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I recently stayed somewhere without wifi or TV. Imagine that for a minute. Pretty much cut off from the networked world. Alternatively; I’ve just been lucky enough to go somewhere and experience things I’ve never seen before or might again. Perhaps a serendipitous outcome, which is the reason for posting.

When a friend offered me a week in her newly built holiday home in the north of Scotland as a birthday present, my first thoughts were it’s 400 miles away, has no telly or wifi. But, as it was a gift, then I’d gladly accepted.

I then told the family.

“What, no TV or wifi?”

“Nope – just fresh air, countryside, the sea and probably rainbows; big rainbows mind!”

So we went and it was great to experience a new place, different flora and fauna and spend time off the matrix.

It worried me however that I’d initially reacted as I did and got the same reaction from family about percieved reliance on TV and wifi. #FOMO – Fear of missing out I think the in term is. I wondered how similar that might be for others. Might we even be disconnecting from nature and our surroundings in general? What might the implications be for future generations?

And why are we scared of not being connected?

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The place we stayed was Upper Garralburn near New Mill, two miles from Keith, in Moray Speyside. Well worth a visit – booking available 😉

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The house is a new build, permitted as it’s on the site of an old croft. The garden was not yet finished so we got to see bird life we wouldn’t have normally seen if it had been. Birds like (in photo order) Wheatears, Meadow Pippits, Skylarks, Sedge Warblers, Yellowhammers and Curlews that like stony ground.

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One afternoon we went to Spey Bay where the River Spey enters the sea. We’d read there was a chance we might see dolphins and there was a tea room, obviously!

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It was a blustery day. Rain showers kept blowing over but we waited with binoculars and camera ready. Then; bonus, about 30 ft away from me, where part of the river splits from the main estuary, a seal jumped fully out of the water. I followed it down river to the sea where we then saw a pod of dolphins.

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We watched them surfacing for a while and headed off to the cafe. We then noticed a bird hovering.

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Turned out it was an Osprey. It dived and took a fish out of the river and then returned and took one from the sea.

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We never really expected to see dolphins, let alone see the seal or especially ospreys without heading to a really remote or protected place.

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We also saw Buzzards, Deer, Foxes, Hares, and a Grasshopper Warbler. Big tick for that one apparently. And, as predicted, the best rainbows.

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It didn’t get dark until 1.30 in the morning and then got light at 3 am.

As we didn’t have TV or wifi and 3G connectivity was pretty sparse, we talked much more than usual. I learned about wildlife from my OH as it was her thing, now increasingly mine too. I captured what we saw with a view to sharing when back on-line.

I realise I’m fortunate that we could get to my friend’s house and then to Spey Bay. It’s not however the back of beyond. And when you really look, there is loads going on in your local park and gardens that we miss every minute. I saw a lad pull a fish the size of his foot out of Meanwood Beck the other week.

I also see that some people rely on on TV and being online as it might be the only way of keeping in touch. The point is, if we hadn’t challenged our ‘really need to be connected’ thinking then we would have missed out on seeing what we did.

Our 24/7 connected lives sometimes mean we don’t see what is right on our doorsteps. It is easy to turn the telly on or call up our timeline at the expense of other things, conversation, walks, nature, wildlife…or visiting someone who may be lonely.

It still niggled me I initially had conflict with off-line and on-line when they can be and are complementary. So maybe the real #FOMO is that we might be missing out on the chance to reconnect with what we once knew.

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