Social media has taken over the world. It might seem like I’m being melodramatic – and it’s a little ironic coming from us – but what’s scary is that I’m speaking the truth.
Quite simply (without getting too airy fairy philosophical here) sometimes humans just need to go back to being humans. When is the last time you spent more than 24 hours away from a screen or without your phone in arm’s reach?
It’s a fact of life now that it’s not possible to do your job, stay connected with friends or book a lift home on a night out without a smartphone.
These past two years I’ve been on two trips, one each year, where I was completely disconnected from the Internet for more than seven consecutive days. The first was a 12 day trip to Cuba, where there just wasn’t internet at all. The second was a 9-day survival experience on a deserted island in Tonga. Disconnecting wasn’t my intention when planning these adventures – it was more a blissful bonus. I would argue that the only way to really force yourself to go off-the-grid is to have the decision taken out of your hands.
It doesn’t matter how you decide to disconnect, where in the world you go (it could be as simple as renting an Airbnb down the coast and leaving your phone at home) but it will pay dividends to your mental and social health by going cold turkey on technology at least once a year.
Below we’ll elaborate on three epic adventure ideas to fuel your digital detox. Rather than sit in a room without a phone for a week and stare at a wall, you may as well have a blast getting outside and experiencing the world in front of your eyes instead of vicariously through someone else’s Instagram feed.
This is the hardcore option, which is why I’m giving it to you straight up. Hardcore, because you’re not just disconnecting from your screens, you’re disconnecting from the whole world.
On a tiny deserted island in the middle of the South Pacific you’re too busy trying not to starve to death to be worried about your phone. Even if you do pick it up, there’s no signal and the battery will die within a day, leaving you cold turkey for a minimum of 8 more.
For this adventure, it’s No Roads Expeditions that are making the decisions for you, offering the most real experience you can possibly get to a genuine survival situation. On this island World War 3 could have started and you’d have no idea. If you’re really keen on some self-awareness and discovering how small you are in the world, this Holy Grail of all digital detoxes is the choice for you. Read more about my experience here.
Summit An Un-climbed Mountain In PNG
Papua New Guinea is one of the few places in the world where ‘remoteness’ finds a new definition. Believe it or not, there’s actually a mountain somewhere among thick virgin jungle that’s never been climbed before. You read that right.
Just when I thought humans had been everywhere and done anything, this trip popped up in my email inbox. It might not be as significant as the moon landing or the summit of Everest, but even the concept that there’s a place on Earth that has yet to be visited is compelling enough.
What better place is there than Papua New Guinea to bury your phone in the bottom of your pack as you trek across uncharted land to look for the peak of a 4000m high mountain. If you’re going to disconnect, you may as well achieve a world-first ascent of a remote peak so you’ve got something epic to post about when you finally return.
Stay tuned for my full expedition report later this year.
Get Lost In Cuba
A lot has changed even since my visit in 2016, and apparently, WiFi is more and more readily accessible across the country. Despite that, there’s undoubtedly still pockets of Cuban countryside or turquoise beaches where there’s no people or reception for miles.
When I travelled with two friends across Cuba, one of the most rewarding aspects of being off-the-grid was sitting back at the end of the day to read a book, play cards or drink rum without any of us having an excuse to check their phone or upload a snap to the ‘Gram.
Get your tips here, but as I mentioned earlier, things are changing fast so track down some more recent advice before you go.
To book some of the most remote expeditions in the world, check out the website for No Roads here.