‘Couldn’t you just bribe the guards or climb over the wall?’
I looked blank. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard something like this, but it still didn’t make sense. What was so disturbing about spending a month inside a Buddhist monastery on a hilltop in Nepal, cut off from the outside world and meditating for hours each day? But as soon as I mentioned there’d be no internet or phone-calls, my friends rapidly began plotting my escape back to the world of connectivity, fearful, perhaps, of what that much time spent in my own company and away from the IV-line of news and social media could do to a person.
But that was the point of going: to step outside of my everyday life and to experience something very different, something focused on understanding where I am, who I am, and what’s actually important to me from the inside out, rather than only through the reflections of myself I see bounced back from outside. Internal reflection is frightening only when you’re afraid of what you’ll see; silence is only troubling when you’re scared of hearing the voices in your head. Then again, if I wasn’t scared as I boarded the plane, it turned out I was pretty naïve.