One of the many benefits of my occasional forays into the wilderness is the confirmation that we can get through life with a lot less “stuff” than the advertisers and marketers would have us believe.

I call it dematerialisation, not that I’m vanishing like Captain Kirk in a transporter but I’m leaving behind the perceived daily necessities of modern life – the material things – to see what life looks like when it’s simply – simpler.

Wild camping in Oman is an example of that – one large bag containing everything you possess and no tents (just a tarpaulin for rain and sun).

Over the course of a 21-day expedition, one’s focus becomes the inside of a kit bag (and the number of times you unpack and pack it again whilst looking for that elusive spork or insect repellant spray that you know is in there).

Simple things on expedition become major issues – the major issues of the developed world become irrelevant.

Especially with no wifi, no TV, no mobile phone signal – the realisation that you have missed 3 weeks of news, posts and box-sets – and not missed them at all.

No – I won’t be moving into the back garden at home and closing my Facebook account down (although 2 of our expeditioners have done just that – Facebook that is, not hiding behind the compost heap). I’m back into the world this week and enjoying most of it.

However – there is an abiding sense of “what really matters” and it sure as hell isn’t Candy Crush or The Spring Budget.

Here, however, is a paradox.

I run my own business and have to hit my revenue targets to pay the inevitable bills.

For a living, I help my clients to make more profit in less time with happier people, to determine their strategies (personal and professional) and to solve wicked problems elegantly – that’s my professional calling.

To do that I have to get back into the material world, switch the wifi back on, battle with the crowds at Euston attempting to descend to the Northern Line, read management accounts and spreadsheets, review marketing plans, discuss the performance and behaviour of people, set the alarm for 04:30 so that I can catch that train.

Getting occasionally dematerialised does, however, ground me – it makes me realise that I never was going to be happy chasing as Aston Martin, a bigger house, a more expensive pair of shoes.

As 7 Explorers say on their web site – “find yourself – in unexpected places.”

When you are chasing fulfilment in a calling, excellence, peace of mind, integrity – the right kind of patients/clients can sense it and will hire you in increasing numbers.

When you are chasing the material things it gives off an entirely different scent.

Tomorrow I begin my video diary of the Oman 2017 Expedition, to be posted on my Facebook profile over a 3-week period. I hope you haver the chance to check in each day and see some glimpses of our experience and get a sense of why trips like this mean so much to me.


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Chris Barrow

Chris Barrow has been active as a consultant, trainer and coach to the UK dental profession for over 20 years. As a writer, his blog enjoys a strong following and he is a regular contributor to the dental press. Naturally direct, assertive and determined, he has the ability to reach conclusions quickly, as well as the sharp reflexes and lightness of touch to innovate, change tack and push boundaries. In 2014 he appeared as a “castaway” in the first season of the popular reality TV show “The Island with Bear Grylls”. His main professional focus is as Coach Barrow, providing coaching and mentorship to independent dentistry.

3 thoughts on “Dematerialisation”

  1. Just thinking similar Chris as I walked down York station platform to catch the 631 to London. I was early this morning (not the usual starsky and hutch into the car park and running to the platform) so had a chance to look at people that I past on the platform – at least 30 odd waiting and then I started counting the ones with head down looking at a phone 23 before I got to my spot to wait for the train – no smiles -no good mornings. Hey-ho made me think about time spent on mobile devices and not looking at what’s around us and modern day communication at home and in work – new rules start today .

      1. I believe we surround ourselves with the things ‘we can’….. because we can, the real question is if it was all taken away tomorrow would we survive…….of course we would………and would we still be happy……. I would

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