Off the grid for 10 days

GCELE Cuba, Varadero

May 2017

            Mission: Go unplugged for 10 days. That means no internet, no emails, no social media, no calls and no text messages. Do you accept the challenge? “Hmmm ahh, I guess so. YES! Challenge accepted.” Alison replied, with quivering uncertainty in her voice. Would you have taken the same challenge? Most wouldn’t.  At first, I was scared. The first two days I felt incomplete and bare. I felt like something was missing. I wasn’t able to look at my Facebook when I had a minute or two to pass by. I wasn’t able to check my numerous emails. But, in reality the reason I was so reluctant to give up my phone; was the fact that my phone made me feel safe and secure. I feel complete, I feel connected and I feel safe having my phone in hand.

Having no phone meant more conversations, more adventures, more sleep and more thinking. It was refreshing. I was no longer being controlled by my phone. I didn’t have to look at my phone each time the screen lit up with a notification or a sound “blinged” to see who or what was just texted. I connected with people face to face not from screen to screen.  I got to know people.  I went for evening walks. Not having a phone opened my eyes to just how consumed I have become to this piece of technology. It made me realize the importance of human connections. To actually listen to our friends and families instead of listening with one ear while navigating the latest “status update” on Facebook.

Besides my reality of having no phone, my days where hot, sweaty and tiring. Some days were spend clearing fields with a machete for fruit trees to be planted or helping with the construction of a compost toilet. Each day was a new adventure. I remember the day I ate a hot pepper even though it was green. Thinking it wouldn’t be too spicy. Boy, was I wrong! It was CRAZY hot! At least 10 times hotter than the seeds of a jalapeno. Yes that HOT! My face became instantly flushed and my eyes began to swell up with tears. And to think people complain about the Cuban food being so bland. I only have a picture of the hot pepper not of my face after eating a green one. Wow, to think what would have happened if I too a bit of the red one?!!


I had the most amazing fresh fruits and vegetables I have ever had in my entire life. The Cuban food had its own unique flare. I developed and new-found appreciation for the food that reached my plate each day.


These were all new experiences that I would not have had the opportunity to do here in Canada. The wealth of knowledge I now have from this “once in a life time experience” is unmeasurable. Then, what is the next step. What do I take from this experience?

To step back. To embrace life. To give back. To teach others the importance of permaculture and the importance of spending time with family. At the end of the day we never have enough time. Time goes by too fast. That is why time is priceless.


Written By: Alison Spice

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