Could You Survive A Digital Detox Holiday?
Three days without your phone, laptop, iPad or WiFi. It's the new trend...
It wasn’t too long ago that most travel junkies ventured off around the globe in search of weird and wonderful physical detoxes. Caffeine enemas? Been there, done that. Yoga-induced bowel evacuations? Ugh, SO 2014.
Nope, the latest on-fleek detox trend is the ‘Digital Detox’, a very intentional and conscious uncoupling between yourself and your various digital devices.
You check-in to your hotel of choice, hand over anything that allows you to go online and then, well, you’re digitally dark. No Snapchat, no Facebook, no Twitter, no Tumblr and no connection to the wider world.
In the name of journalism/unbridled self-flagellation, MTV ventured off to Thailand’s Aleenta Hua-Hin Pranburi for its newly launched three night ‘Digital Detox’ experience. And, sure enough, we had to forfeit our laptop, iPhone and iPad upon check-in.
What follows are the rambling thought-blurbs of a man deprived of his technological crutches. Things got weird.
5:15pm - I’ve just handed in my most beloved worldly companions (sorry, Mum). Now I’m using this thing called a ‘pencil’ to write on ‘paper’. I’ve written 12 words and my hand already aches.
7:15pm - Just had a massage to help with the cold turkey-ing. Physical TLC was a healthy start to life without my phone. Being forced to switch off is just as healthy as voluntary disconnection, right? I know it’s only been 15 minutes, but it’s like I’ve already reached some higher state of acceptance, an almost Buddhist-like calm.
7:18pm - Where is my phone? Jesus Christ, I need my phone. *throws clothes around the room in search of anything with a screen* No, it’s ok. I’ll go for a walk instead.
7:25pm - Aaaaaaand…. zen. I feel the sand under my feet, the warm waves of the Gulf of Thailand washing over my toes, and stare out across a sunset glowing with purples, ambers and auburn shades. This would really rather look amazing on Instagram, you know.
8:30pm - We eat dinner overlooking the ocean. Chat pretty much revolves around how weird it is not to have a phone. Eat two desserts to deal with the emotional trauma.
Chuff Knows - A few cocktails down, and without my phone or laptop, I’m gloriously clock-free. As I tuck into bed, I go to set the alarm on my pho… oh. Thinking of tomorrow, how about I see what the weather’s like on my weather ap… *gives up, orders third dessert from room service*
9am - Wake up half an hour late on account of NO PHONE ALARM. Want to Tweet about the drama of waking up late using a cat gif. Can’t.
10:30am - Head off into the local town to buy ingredients for a cooking lesson in the hotel’s self-sustaining allotments. Spend hours getting our hands dirty, chatting to the chefs about how to make the perfect Pad Thai, and soaking up the farm-y scenery.
12:30pm - Eat our self-cooked lunch on a balcony overlooking the ocean. It is without doubt the best thing I have ever cooked. Immediately want to Facebook Message my Mum with proof.
1:30pm - Sit in a hammock with a (printed-on-paper!) book in hand. With nothing but the gentle ocean breeze and meandering local dogs wandering up to nuzzle my hand and interrupt, I fall asleep pretty quick.
Evening - Time’s run away with me again. Spend the evening playing cards, drinking, nattering to the locals about the hotel’s rather gossip-inducing guests (Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes, the Beckhams, and Nicole Kidman have all counted themselves guests).
9am - I dreamt about the internet. Specifically, browsing Vines on Tumblr and being caught out by the hotel manager. I think I have a problem.
10am - We venture out of the resort for a day visit to Wildlife Friends Foundation, a conservation and rescue refuge housing an incredible Attenborough-esque array of animals. The day’s spent meeting bears, elephants, gibbons, otters, and all manner of adorable fluffy orphans.
12pm - Lunch followed by walking an elephant. We took an actual elephant for an actual walk. Using only bananas. Perfect Snapchat selfie opp.
5pm - During the car journey back, I realise that I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the world. Wars could have started, the Kardashians could even have had another baby - and I’d have no clue. And, right now, I don’t really care. JUST FED AN ELEPHANT Y’ALL.
8am - Pick up my phone, laptop et al. Don’t even turn it on. Well, for the first 15 minutes at least. *opens Twitter, RTs a gif of a dog on a skateboard, feels soul eating itself*
SO WHAT WAS ALL THAT ABOUT THEN?
Three nights without internet connection, and what did I learn?
While cat gifs will NEVER NOT BE FUNNY, there is a life outside of our smart phones/wi-fi enabled devices, and it’s a glorious one full of smells, sights and elephant cuddles that far trump the 8293 tweets you would’ve missed out on in the same time.
TL: DR - Put down your phone once in a while. Look around you. It’s pretty awesome.
MTV travelled to… Aleenta Hua Hin Resort & Spa, Pranburi - Thailand. Destinology offers a 10 night stay in a Ocean View Residence with bed and breakfast, including flights from Manchester at £999 per person, based on two sharing.