In 2010 I made a conscious decision to self-isolate.
Of course, this was before it became an enforced trend it was called ‘getting away from everything’ (now self-isolation)
I had passed through a very personal storm. That storm started with a brutal divorce and concluded with an end-all bankruptcy. It was also horrible a million voices firing at me on what was going to be best for me. They all knew best yet never asked what would be best. The noise was deafening.
I had become anxious, lost my confidence and felt weak.
It was hard to take more than I was going through.
So I booked a flight to self-isolation.
Here’s what happened.
I told my kids I was going to go away for two weeks to a friend’s home for some peace.
It wasn’t really peace I needed it was silence, solitude and calm.
Divorce can be horrible. Fights and opinions and threats and battles that can last for hours, days, months and even years. I felt mentally exhausted. At one point I thought I was going to die.
My friends were concerned whilst most of my family were on the full attack towards me during this period. For the first time in my life, I did truly feel alone.
By September 7th 2010 I was sitting on a Virgin Atlantic plane. The flight was taking me to San Francisco. After a long flight and one stop in New York, I was ready to get off and vanish into self-isolation.
This flight was the first time in years I had spoken to no one. It was the first time no one knew my personal history and treated me like a human being rather than a judged imperfect human. During the flight time, I had said hello, thank you and goodbye to the stewards when getting off. It was probably the quietest time I have ever spent in my 47 of life years at that point.
Once off the plane, I jumped in a cab and he drove all the way down the stunning pacific one highway until we were almost at Santa Cruz. Once at that point I had to look out for a left turn-off to a place named Bonny Doon.
Bonny Doon is a place located in the hills of California in the middle of a redwood forest. We saw the sign and we began to drive up the long and winding hill. Finally, we took a right turn and then one more right turn. This led up a dirt track around two miles long. At the very top, we arrived at a large wooden cabin.
This was to be my home for as long as I needed it. I was alone with only the most basic of things to keep me going. With the cabin also came to a car. I could drive down into the town of Sant Cruz if I wanted at any point.
Once in the cabin, I found a set of short notes. It basically explained that the garden was organic, no soaps were to be used and no toilet cleaning chemicals were to be used. Also, I had to look after the huge fat fluffy cat named ‘Cloud’.
And then began my self-isolation from my world.
At first, it was everything I had feared. That fear of loneliness. It was just me and me only. Once the dark arrived all I could hear were the sounds of the forest. Racoons were always trying to get into the cabin. It wasn’t uncommon to hear the howls of mountain wolves and lions. The first few nights I didn’t sleep.
The fact that there were no locks on any doors and anyone could walk in anytime made me feel very unsafe. I was totally outside of my comfort zone, to say the least.
The nights were blacker than black yet once the sun rose it was the most beautiful experience I had been through at that point. The only noise I could hear in the day was the deafening sound of huge woodpeckers hammering the trees with their unbreakable beaks.
After a week or so I decided to drive down into Santa Cruz. This was the first contact I’d had in a week with humans but only at the checkout still no conversation.
12-weeks later I merged from that experience a brand new person.
I will tell you why self-isolation was the best experience I had been through.
I now believe that the solutions to problems can only be found in the silence. The silence for me was no human contact. I would sit in front of the log fire alone with cloud the cat sitting across my feet. I had time to think to re-evaluate, to find my own solutions to my own problems.
This was a period in my life that changed everything.
Whilst there I decided to write a book. It was my first what I always call my real book. That book was eventually picked up and published by New York publisher named Morgan James.
The book is my experiences. It is what is going on in my mind, my thoughts my evaluations and my actions.
It is also an awakening moment where I realised certain things in life. The biggest thing I was to realise was I am responsible for my own life and that included past, present and future.
At the end of the isolation, I’d had enough and wanted to come home. I booked my flight and jumped on the plane and then returned home to England.
And I can tell you.
I never felt so alive in my life.
Self-imposed self-isolation isn’t new. It has been a meditation tool for millenniums where humans take time out to tap deeper into their minds to discover solutions for life. And it wasn’t always for the elite or self-proclaimed enlightened. The average human being was like this way before we become processed for modern life.
Today’s self-isolation is interesting. Rather than people using the time to evaluate and think we are being encouraged to watch more TV, not feel guilty about binge-watching, killing time, jumping up and down or while streets singing in unison. There isn’t anything wrong with this yet have you hear Dany officials say things.
The perfect time to read a new book and awaken our mind.
There perfect time to reevaluate your life.
The perfect opportunity to re-educate yourself.
The perfect time to approach life in a new way.
The perfect time to create a perfect new life.
Self-isolation is a time for thought, clarity and change.
I’m embracing the whole process. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss my daily coffee but it has made me ask the question do I really need to go and have a daily coffee?
If you like to know more about my whole 12-week self-isolation and the conclusions I came to everything is in my book,
Zoo-Man-Ity was a phrase I created to replace hu-man-ity
The book explains everything
We can still deliver fast as the post office is working as normal.
Order my experiences of self-isolating here.
Or go to Amazon or most booksellers online and order the book ESCAPE FROM ZOOMANITY
Don’t worry everything will turn out just fine.
Alan Forrest Smith