Out of the Corner Office

Please share your outdoor adventure stories with us! Our first hiking guest blogger is Phong Banh, a father of three beautiful children who spends a lot more time in front of a computer screen than he wishes. Follow his adventures as he tries to reclaim his sense of adventure and health.

Guest Blogger: Phong Banh

Let’s start at the beginning, the office. Work this past year and a half has consumed me from the inside out. My focus on strategic, tactical and project plans; juggling of priorities within work, between family and work have driven me into a tunnel vision that when taken a step back seems unnatural. Screens drive my day-to-day life, large and small. The Apple iPhone sets my pace through my day. Marching through the cadence of electronic tonal alerts. In my absence, mind and spirit, it seems to have come out of nowhere and realizing how much of a toll it has taken. It had finally taken a turn that affected more then myself. A genuinely good friend saw this, as transparently is glass, and set me on course of self-reflection and correction. I finally realize what I thought had came out of nowhere, is exactly where I need to be, nowhere. 

Taking pointer from my friend, I set out on a hike on the C&O canal towpath start. I can only describe this as a form of active meditation, push the body to exhaustion as a way to clear the mind; at the same time, a way to reconnect with nature and to live a more primitive lifestyle. I did my first hike on the canal toward Swain Lock from Great Falls, MD. It was three miles each way, which I thought was quite an accomplishment. I arrived at Swain Lock within forty minutes, excited at small amount of time it took, I took a picture of Swain Lock and sent it as a text message on my iPhone to my friend. With a tone of victory, I wrote “made it in 40 minutes, too easy” accompanying my picture. I waited for a congratulatory reply patiently, and ding a new message arrived. “This is not about posting pictures! Keep pushing on!” appeared on my phone. I completely understood the irony of what had just happened, iPhone, pictures, text message; I did not escape the office at all. I am still surround myself with electronic screens and look for praise instead of using this moment for introspective reflection. Well…baby steps, baby steps.

C&O Canal, Swain's Lock

C&O Canal, Swain's Lock

Two weeks later, here I am, planning for a trip back to the canal. This time I am determine to use this time for self discovery and meditation to reconnect my mind and spirit to the natural world that we are born into.