Travel

Log out and sign into tranquillity

At 8 pm, I realised I had been staring at my phone for over an hour, willing it to pick up WiFi signal. Sitting on the couch in the Airbnb we had booked in Galle, an unnerving FOMO was slowly settling in. I had tried everything — changing settings, turning my phone on and off, holding it up in the air in an uncoordinated dance around the house’s perimeter. Nothing seemed to work.

I looked around to discover the other millennials struggling like me, while the baby-boomers showed no signs of distress as they napped and did crossword puzzles in magazines.

What were we supposed to do with our evening? Fortunately, the baby-boomer preparedness also came with trivia cards, and we learned facts about football teams and art museums. While that pacified us for the time being, we ended up going out for a late-night stroll, attempting to identify planets and constellations. We couldn’t recall the last time we did that.

The millennial prerequisite

Multiple surveys and studies by organisations such as Expedia, Hotels.com, and Research+Data Insights reveal that complimentary hotel WiFi has become even more important than free breakfast or location to the modern traveller.

We are living in an era that has normalised over-sharing, and our most preferred mediums of communication are neatly packed into a small smart screen. Our travel checklist now includes multiple device chargers, USB cables, headphones, and power banks.

We “get away from it all” only to be constantly connected to everything that’s familiar to us. You could go away to Uluru in the Australian desert, 500 kilometres from civilisation, and still have access to high-speed WiFi.

Log out and sign into tranquillity
 

To be fully immersed in the moment, rejuvenate and re-emerge ready to take on the world again, digital detox holidays are becoming an increasingly popular option.

“I try to go on at least one digital detox holiday a year,” says Lux Narayan, CEO at Unmetric, whose work requires him to shuttle between New York and Chennai, and always stay connected to his remote teams across time zones. “These much-needed breaks help me truly switch off, and help me remind myself that I’m not as indispensable as I might flatter myself into believing.”

Go away some place quiet

One way to detox is to head to wellness retreats, such as the luxurious Atmantan Resort in the Sahyadri range on the outskirts of Pune. There are eight different retreats to choose from, and guests are discouraged from bringing phones and laptops with them. WiFi is available only within the rooms, but the resort plans your day such that you step out in the morning and don’t come back to your room until late in the evening. Stays are for a minimum of three nights, so you’re ensured a thorough detox.

For a more rustic experience, the Baalecool Nature Stay in Sakleshpur, Karnataka, is cut off from the usual tourist circuit and located amidst hilly forests. The five-room property lets you bring your pets and spend quality time with them on long walks through the grasslands. There is no Internet, no TV, and believe it or not, no electricity supply. They rely on hydroelectric power and generators through the year.

For a similar experience closer home, The Last Shola Cottages are located in the middle of coffee estates, a good 15 km from Yercaud. While there are TVs in the rooms, the resort has no phone connectivity or WiFi, and you can spend the day trekking, watching wildlife, cycling up hills, and boating in the private lake.

To truly feel like George of the Jungle, head to one of the many wilderness resorts in the country. The Solluna Resort is ideally located inside the reserve area of Jim Corbett National Park, and is spread across 90 acres.“We want our guests to go star-gazing, relax by the riverside and ask our naturalists questions on wildlife safaris,” says Kunal Aggarwal, Head of Sales at the resort.

 

The Jamtara Wilderness Camp at the Pench National Park in Madhya Pradesh is run by the Sankhala family, which for generations has been actively involved in tiger conservation efforts. Here, you can explore the local village to learn how to make jaggery and spot wild cats in the jungle, while staying in beautiful tents. If you’re adventurous, there are outdoor star beds or “machaans” in the farms, built on high stilts for the most incredible sights and sounds. If you’ve never been digitally disconnected before, the first day is the hardest, says Narayan. “That’s when you have the hangover of being connected and by reflex reach out to your phone to check email. You also have to curb the ‘I might be needed now’ thought. But by day two, it gets a lot easier!”

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Printable version | Sep 26, 2020 10:04:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/welcome-to-digital-detox-the-new-way-to-of-holidaying/article17951333.ece

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