My Yosemite, A weekend away from all technology

March 18, 2019 (5y ago)

Tunnel view, Yosemite National Forest.


This is my story from the past weekend at Yosemite national park and how it changed my life. It started out as a simple weekend getaway to find peace, zen, and personal solace but turned out to be so much more.

My goal was simple and twofold: 1. To meditate and calm my mind and 2. To be as uncomfortable as possible. Number 2 sounds weird but I’ll get to it as we delve into this journey. To begin, this was not my first trip into the Sierra Nevadas but my first time going alone. Rules that I established for myself: To sleep in my car, to eat the most minimalistic food as possible and *absolutely no use of technology. *Being a kid AND a student of computer science I spend a whole lot of hours in front of a screen: whether it’s a laptop to do work, an Ipad to write notes on or a mobile phone to just browse Instagram or Medium. Life was getting hectic, stressful and I felt that spring break was the perfect opportunity to get away from it all.


This was the biggest ticket on the list of Items I wanted to do and achieve. I wanted to since several months be able to sit in the middle of the Sequoia’s right next to a river and hear nothing but birds chirping and the flow of water. My intention here was to be as natural as possible.

My first night at Yosemite, I drove up to Wawona campgrounds and asked a random camper if he’d let me park for which he agreed as long as I don’t make noise or put up a tent next to his (Spots are allocated per person). This was perfect for me. The campgrounds are right next to the beautiful Merced River which was overflowing due to the recent rains and the snowfall in and around California. The following days after, I spent near Horse ridge which is an elevated trek away from Wawona but I would always come down to the river to meditate.

Merced River, Wawona, Yosemite National Forest

This spot was incredibly beautiful, sparsely populated and had almost no noise from traffic or people. For a couple of hours every day, I sat on the rocks next to the river and just closed my eyes sitting in the lotus position and did nothing but listen the sound of waves crashing the rocks. This was incredibly hard at first because every moment that I heard the rustling of bushes or leaves I felt that I was going to be mauled by a mountain lion or a bear. It sounds ridiculous right now but at that moment, there was a bear watch and this for me was as real as it got.

Regardless, as time went on I adjusted to my surroundings and just closed my eyes. This was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life and all it was was just focusing on breath and listening to the glorious sound of mother nature. Nighttime was especially hard as temperatures were dipping close to freezing which is when I resolved to read my book. ( Who moved my Cheese?)

My experience with meditation here was fruitful, to say the least. I felt my mind more at ease, I was able to pay attention for much longer periods of time without a buzz from my phone and could easily delve into my thoughts without much distraction.


For the 3 days, that I was there the only thing that I decided to eat was bread. Yes, bread the most simplistic of food and definitely not camping food but I had made up my mind not to eat any comfort food. ( I did get coffee, after hiking for 1 hour— let’s just say I earned it!)


The only time I took a bath was when I jumped into the Merced River just to realize that the frigid waters close to sub-zero temperatures weren’t meant for swimming and that was the end of that.


The crux of my story comes from being in a circumstance which would be entirely different from the life where I lived. I was coming in from Monterey Bay, California where I have a decent room to stay, a nice kitchen, a bed and a place where the house temperature is rarely below 65 degrees.

Neighborhood In Monterey

I knew that I wasn’t appreciating the life I was living. A Computer Science student who eats chipotle every opportunity he gets and without thinking about all the gadgets and standard of life that he is living.

This was going to be different. I was going to sleep in my car in the frigid temperatures and I wasn’t going to have any fun doing it. My car is a VW Jetta and I’m 6"0 so, the backseat was half my length. Although my friend generously gave me her sleeping bag and gloves due to my rigid stubborn nature, the first night I opted to against using it. There I was laying down in my car in the middle of the Sierra Nevada’s. Took me a couple of hours before I could finally go to bed but I was awakened by a Ranger of the National Forest Service telling me that I didn’t have the right permits and/or was parked illegally. After I explained to her my weird situation, she agreed to let me spend the night there.

This worked out well for me because much to my realization, my hands and feet felt like bricks. The temperature had dipped to 18 degrees F or -8 degrees C and despite my blanket, I could feel extreme stinging sensations in my upper and lower extremities.

Some fellow campers in Wawona.

For me, this was it. The end goal was reached. For once in a long time, I felt out of my league. I felt that I was in the mercy of nature and there was nothing that I could do about it. There was no way I could sleep and turning my car on not only was something that I was against (Night time in the wilderness is genuinely pure)but it was of no use because of the weather. All I could do was spend the next few hours before the sun came up the horizon was to contemplate everything — my past, present, and future.(Weird form of self-thought, I agree). I did put on the gloves and the sleeping bag but the cold weather which made my car a frozen coffin made no difference in my ability to sleep.

It might sound stupid to a lot of people. *Why would someone knowingly do that to themselves? Why be so out of your league? *For me, it was about finding myself. Knowing that through thick and thin basic survival skills always kick in and it is something that has made me appreciate everything that I have a lot more.


Whether or not it’s your idea to deliberately try to be uncomfortable or just go out alone to explore the wilderness I would suggest you do it anyway. The worst case is that you just be out in the wild without technology ( Not even close being worse, in fact, a positive) and the best case being you get to look inside yourself, think about what you are capable of, think about what really matters and what really doesn’t because for me I realized sitting in the middle of the high Sierra’s in the middle of the Sequoia's right by the Merced River is that my problems are minute. My problems however big I think are easily dwarfed by the grandeur of nature.

I want to end and leave this article with a quote from the book that helped me share this perspective:

“What would you do, If you weren’t afraid?”