T Nation

I Need to Get Out of the City


So I spent the better part of the last 10 days or so in upper-middle Wisconsin, in a town called Rome.

I have a wealthy older brother who retired a few years ago at 40 â?? Made a bunch of money at EDS, his wife is a Dr, yada yada yada.

Anyways, like any rich happy dude who is still pretty young, he has all sorts of cool toys, and none better than a lake house on a private lake out in the middle of fucking nowhere, only a few hundred miles south of Canada.

A few years ago I turned him on to wakeboarding, which is this crazy death-wish of a sport, in which you ride a board on the water, of which you are strapped in (no escape sissy boy), all the while being pulled by a large motor boat specifically designed to produce the biggest waves possible.

Oh yea, this boat has an 8 cylinder engine, with a few hundred pounds of lead in the back of it, all in the name of spurting out as big as waves as possible. Why you might ask? So when you cross over the wake, your board will hit this tsunami and catapult you five or 10 feet in the air, while you hold onto a rope that is tied to the giant motor powered monster pulling you along for Satan's ride into hell.

Needless to say, my brother doesn't ride much, as he's content with taking it easy in life, remember. He usually chills out, with the boat's steering wheel in one hand and jack and coke in the other.

The good part (or bad, depending upon how you look at it) is that I get to ride all I want, and I share riding duties with his daughter, my 8 year old niece. Now, it isn't too often in life where being 8 years old, 4 feet tall and weighing 65 pounds is an advantage, but wakeboarding seems to be that event.

She is essentially a one man (or woman) wrecking crew on the water. Completely indestructible and un-fatigable. Every crash landing I take from being launched into the air by the tsunami, I cringe in agony as I crash into the water. Her? She is like a piece of rubber. You could throw her off the Empire State Building and I swear she would bounce back up, with her adorable missing teeth smile and pony tail.

After an evening of pounding and crashing into the cement, and that's exactly what the water feels like when your going 25 miles an hour and being launched 10 feet into the air, I usually rest up my bumps and bruises by the camp fire, sipping on a cocktail and having a puff.

And that's when it hits you. You look up into the sky, and you realize you feel connected with nature. The sky is littered with stars. This is something you do not see in the city. The light pollution, smog, noise pollution has removed us from being connected with nature. Is this to our detriment? I believe so. One thing that I always immediately notice, right on the first night at the Lake, and I have been going there for years, is that I sleep like a fucking bear. Passed out, dead to the world, in a serious dream-like state of zombie consciousness.

Science has some interesting answers here. Our pineal gland produces melatonin, a substance that helps put us in deep REM levels of sleep, but it only really does so when your out of the confinements of the city, and in the pleasant surroundings of nature.

In fact, just small amounts of light and noise is enough to affect our delicate sleep systems. Sleep should not be overlooked. In fact, it is crucial to our health.

It is in sleep that our body triggers hormones responsible for cellular repair and formation. Our adrenal glands, which are responsible for the most powerful and potent hormone our body produces, cortisol, are repaired at night.

Growth Hormone, the body's master repair hormone, is secreted at night. It is released periodically within the body in a controlled pulsating fashion. This periodic pattern plays an important role in transmitting the GH "growth, repair & well-being" message to tissue.

Testosterone, another critical hormone to our health and well-being, is also secreted at night to aid in repair and rest.

What does this all mean? I'm not really sure. I know that everyone is different and has different needs, but I seriously think the loud city life is detrimental long term, at least for me, and possibly for everyone, hormonally speaking.

Every time I fall asleep under the country stars, I wake up in the morning feeling rested, refreshed, like a million bucks, despite the fact I typically spent the day smashing myself in a repeated fashion, around in a circle and against every rational law of psychics known to man. A human being isn't meant to travel 25 miles an hour and jump 5 feet into the air on water.

I do know one thing. I have got to get out of southeast Michigan. I've mentioned a few times here about wanting to get out to Portland or Colorado. I can feel the mountain air calling my name, seeking me out, as if it is waiting for someone like me to come test its mettle.

I might not be an indestructible 8 year old, but as long as nature can provide me a blanket of stars to sleep under, I'm still game.


Please go to Colorado, way the fuck too many people are moving here as it is. At least you're not a fucking hipster, unlike 50% of the people that move here


I enjoyed that.

My buddies dad bought a cabin on the French River in Ontario. He's been going up there since he was a kid, made a bunch of money, and decided to buy the place. Depending on how fast yoru boat is, its like an hour drive upriver to get there w/ no roads, cell phones, or power.

I've been up there about 5 or 6 times since high school. He just finished adding another one bedroom cabin to the site, a hot shower, and a big roofed porch on the side of the other cabin. He's got two nice Lund boats up there and two jet skies.

Its kind of a bastardization of the nature of the place, but its still pretty damn close to pristine. We go up there and pretty much just fish and drink. We pound the beers and whiskey, although its damn near impossible to get drunk, at least till you get up to move and realize you can't walk. Its something about the sun, getting your boat legs, and not having to worry about shit. Then you get up in the morning, jump in the river and your hang over is instantly gone. Then you pack a shore lunch, some beers, and head out fishing for the day, before returning to start sipping the booze and letting it all sink in.

Its such a beautiful place.

I do agree that being near to untouched nature leads to a higher quality of life. There's always something to do outside, and you get away from the constant mental clutter that comes from too much internet, tv, and other absent minded time killers. You end up learning cool, useful shit, like how to catch and clean fish and survive w/o a lot of the conveniences of modern life. The bugs do get bad, but its part of the experience.


I feel the same exact way when I go to a friends cottage in NH. Tons of stars in the sky, pitch black at night, and cricket chirps are all you hear but they even fade after dusk. I'll go to bed at midnight after spending the entire day on the lake and wake up at 7 feeling like I've been in the most restful coma for an entire week.


Thanks man. I was thinking that a nice combo of the two - nature and city, would be perfect. Live in something rustic and nature, but have the city say 20 minutes away...


Absolutely. Thats the feeling I'm talking about. Restful sleep in the country is glorious.


Nice thread. I agree with everything you said. Does your brother need a butler or a cook, or a butler/cook or someone to hang out with and fish and drink beers with all day long? A few things i'm really good at in life include fishing, drinking beer and relaxing. Hell I could almost go pro.



Nicely written.

That's why I moved to Pinckney, small town feel yet Ann Arbors 20 minutes away.

Water everywhere, great trails, lots of public land. However, there are plenty of people already so don't think I'm trying to talk you into anything.


I live in the city and started using earplugs a few months ago. They help a lot, but even a car horn woke me up last night, some idiot outside on the street. The light that leaks in the hallway also wakes me up. I've experienced the same amazing sleep (despite using a bed a fraction of the quality of my own) at my parents' house in the suburbs. Nice window shades, no relentless street noise...it's nice. It's also clearly very important. I thought about getting some sleeping eye-patches as well.


Thanks man! Yea, he has got it made man. And if he is hiring a butler, I'm first in line for that gig!


Pinkney is nice - I get out to Dexter all the time to disk golf.

Industry wise though, SE Michigan is in shambles. Not too friendly for a soon to be grad. If your solidifed in your career, your fine, but, as I'm sure you have noticed, all the young grads are shipping off to Chicago, Portland and Arizona by the truckload.


Too true, what's your degree in?

My brother lives south of Phoenix and loves it but man is it hot in the summer. I thought the job situation was on the decline in Phoenix, since everyone moved out there. I know their building market has hit a slump and the traffic SUCKS.

I really liked the northwest when I was out there. If I were forced to chose between the three it would probably be Portland, although Chicago would keep me close to home. Not really a big city guy though.


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Graduate in December with my BBA, doing the MBA thing in January.


Absolutely BBB. I think its key to find a suitable blend of the two - Perhaps a city with the country/mountains right close by, something like Portland or Boulder


Pittsburgh NH is where its at....life starts above the 45th parallel.


I find that i can drink all day long at the cottage, and will never get hung over. I wake up feeling better than usual.


I enjoyed that too, it was definitely well written.

It's probably why I love camping so much, nothing beats relaxing out in a peaceful environment away from cities and hoards of people.


Awesome man, thanks a lot!


I sleep better at my cabin, but I have definitely experienced my share of hangovers there.