Filled with unanswered emails, Instagram follower charts, Excel worksheets to crunch, our brains are working in very different ways than those of our ancestors. Maybe you need to pitch a tent at one of these digital-detox destinations
By: Aditya Bhide, Marketing Head, Countryside Adventure Holidays
Posted on: November 20, 2018
Have you found yourself growing restless when you cannot find your cellphone in your trouser pocket? Or have you compulsively checked it for updates every other minute? Most of us are guilty of over-using gadgets - to the point of losing sleep over an endless scrolling session on social media or checking work emails even while on holiday. The aftermath? Disrupted sleep, hypertension, anxiety, impaired interpersonal relationships and in some cases, even depression. It is no wonder then that Indians are taking up digital detox vacations more than ever.
Adventure Travel and Digital Detox
Adventure travel is a rapidly growing segment in India, with more and more travellers forgoing the usual destinations for off-the-radar locations. The ATOAI (Adventure Tour Operators’ Association of India) has declared 2018 as the Year of Adventure in India, and is spearheading numerous campaigns in various places across the country to promote adventure travel.
Offbeat locations mean little to no phone and internet connectivity - a perfect setting for a digital detox, amid high mountains and dense forests, which have their own sights and sounds. Trek enthusiasts swear by the healing powers of nature - and insist that a week-long sojourn in the Himalayas leaves them rejuvenated. It is only fitting that at least for some time, technology be left behind in a place where nature calls the shots. Being in the outdoors and doing some kind of adventure activity is a great team building skill - and rightly so, since in a trekking group, the participants need to watch out for each other to ensure the entire group is safe. Also, they need to carry essentials in a backpack like water bottles, trail snacks, sunscreen, warm clothes and trekking poles among many others. In such a picturesque mountain setting, toting around a camera or smart-phone with a heavy load on your back and stopping frequently to take photos is discouraged and quite frankly, inconvenient too.
Underneath a starry sky, enjoying the silence of the mountains and savouring a hot beverage, there is hardly any need of technology to disrupt the moment. Bonding with co-trekkers is encouraged, since this helps to build interpersonal relationships. Actually holding meaningful conversations with another person is an ability that we are slowly losing due to over use of technology.
In Mongolia too, connectivity is rare. A destination only recently discovered by Indians as one for adventure travel, Mongolia is characterised by plains extending as far as the eye can see, endless rolling sand dunes, and unpaved roads in nearly 85% of the country. Travelling the length and breadth of the country by road is a daunting affair since the country is so vast.
Since the times of the legendary Emperor Genghis Khan, the nomads have retained their largely agrarian lifestyle. Technology in the form of solar panels for the traditional “ger” dwellings is slowly making their way into the lives of these people, but high-speed internet is still difficult to get in these remote areas. This means you are completely off the grid - no frantic refreshing of social media or roaming around with your phone held aloft, willing it to catch some network. Digital detox becomes almost mandatory here.
Antarctica, the elusive, seventh continent, boasts of larger-than-life polar landscapes to satisfy even the most intrepid adventure traveller. Another popular destination for adventure tourism, it has a host of adventure activities. From the comforts of your own expedition vessel, you can explore some larger-than-life, almost ethereal polar landscapes, indulge in activities like camping on the icy ground, kayaking, and polar plunge - taking a dip in the frigid waters. At the end of the world, having internet access is not needed since the landscapes and experience is enough.
Indians are getting away from their phones more than ever now. From regular “digital detox challenges” popularised on social media, and awareness being spread about the effects of overuse of social media and technology, getting away from it all is the thing to do. There are many retreats and resorts all over the country, offering comprehensive health and wellness treatments including specially prescribed sattvic Ayurvedic diets, Panchakarma wellness treatments, yoga lessons, and much more that promises to leave the seeker completely rejuvenated and detoxified at the end of it all.
Many of these retreats also have limited connectivity to discourage guests from using technology. In today’s uber hectic lifestyles, we see many people flocking to these retreats in the eternal quest for inner peace.
Where internet connectivity is a prerequisite while choosing a holiday destination, a place with no network and the chirping of the birds to wake you up in the morning instead of a shrill alarm seems like a welcome change.
Marketing Head at Countryside Adventure Holidays, Aditya is a running and cycling aficionado and loves exploring new cuisines and cultures. He is a music lover and plays the guitar too.