No news is good news … but should we switch off?

There are a million reasons why the grey nomad lifestyle is good for you, but escap­ing from the torrent of news that assaults us from multiple sources is not normally con­sidered one of them. However, some believe that freedom from updates on the situation in Iraq, Syria and Canberra, or details of dramatic accidents, murders and robberies is one huge beneficial by-products of ‘getting away from it all’.

Of course, not all grey nomads are suddenly divorced from global goings-on. Today’s travellers are often equipped with radios, TVs, phones and computers. Nonetheless, most long-term travellers report a gradual drifting away from what might have been a once-near obsessive desire for news.

When nomads sit around a campfire in the Kimberley, they become less engaged with political shenanigans in distant places. Discussions at social gatherings focus more on cheap camping areas than on referendums in Scotland. And, it seems, people are hap­pier for it.

The author of the book, ‘Art of Thinking Clearly’, Rolf Dobelli argues that tidbits of news are toxic to our brains.

“Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of gluco­corticoid (cortisol),” he writes in a newspaper column. “This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress.”

He says it can lead to impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. Other side-effects may include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitisation.

Maddy G has travelled around Australia extensively and is a non-news convert. At the start of her first two-year odyssey, she says was desperate to stay connected.

“We travelled in remote areas and would be so excited when we were in places where we could get radio reception,” she said. “I still remember the joy of hearing the music introduc­ing the ABC news.”

However, Maddy’s news habits slowly changed over time.

“We just drifted out of contact and stopped actively seeking out news,” she said. “I com­pletely missed major events that would have dominated my thinking had I still been at home … and I realised it just didn’t matter that much.”

In his book, Dobelli says that because today’s media outlets tend to focus on the sensa­tional, news items are nothing but ‘bubbles popping on the surface of a deeper world’.

He says that most people read approximately 10,000 news a year but that doesn’t help them to make better decisions.

News defenders though, argue that the ‘head in the sand’ outlook is no way to approach life – whether you are travel­ling or not.



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