By Matt Holmes on Nov 01, 2018 in Africa, Asia, Bhutan, Botswana, Europe, France, Oceania, Pacific Islands, Peru, Regions, South America, Switzerland, Western Europe
Having mini computers in our pockets is one of the amazing things about the age in which we live. Information about anything is literally at our fingertips, and it’s never been easier to connect with friends and family. Not to mention, you can plan your travel adventures from wherever you are! But in this fast-paced world, with constant distraction from devices, it’s important to disconnect every once in a while—to look up from our screens and immerse ourselves in the sounds and sights of our planet. There are plenty of travel apps out there, but none of them can replace the feeling of being in the moment, gazing out at a stunning landscape, or interacting with local people.
Peru’s Salkantay Trek
When people think of Peru, Machu Picchu is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But there is much more to this stunning country than these mysterious ruins. That’s not to say you shouldn’t visit them, but why not go by way of a lesser-known route? While the Inca Trail is the most popular way to the ancient citadel, the Salkantay Trek is a sparsely-traveled, beautiful, and remote alternative (albeit more challenging). Hikers on the Salkantay approach the hilltop site from the back and gain a unique view of the ruins few people see. Trekking through the Andes, you’ll see a much more authentic Peru, away from tourist crowds. If you think this is a backpacking and camping trip, you’re wrong. Luxury mountain lodges with hot tubs, gourmet cuisine, and well-appointed rooms welcome hikers throughout the route.
If the idea of being marooned on a tropical island in order to get away from the daily grind of 21st-century life has ever appealed to you, make your way to Palau. Spending several days snorkeling and kayaking from your surf-side, fully-supported camp is utterly rejuvenating. There’s no electricity when you’re beach camping on an island in the Pacific. In fact, it’s not the greatest idea to even take out electronic devices with all the water, sand, and salty air. Stow away your phone and embrace the tropical paradise—hop into your kayak to discover hidden coves, pull on your snorkel to observe stunning marine life, and listen to the palms rustle on a white sand beach while you watch the sun dip below the horizon. Don’t worry, you won’t really be marooned when you have a local guide and camp staff to set-up, clean up, and cook!
A luxury safari in Botswana offers an incredible level of opulence you might not expect from remote camps in the heart of the African bush. While Wi-Fi is uncommon, you won’t miss it. The wildlife shows on TV and videos of animal encounters online simply cannot compare to actually being there. And once you’ve soared over vast swaths of wilderness on a flying safari and observed an elephant grazing 10 feet from your nose, you won’t be able to watch those shows without pining for that wild and free feeling you get from being far from civilization and technology. From game drives, to massages back at camp, to sitting on your private deck watching animals graze, you’ll be completely preoccupied by the breathtaking nature all around and won’t miss being connected.
Being in Bhutan evokes a sense of calm and mindfulness, perhaps due to the Buddhist philosophy so tightly woven into every part of Bhutanese life. Whatever it is, Bhutan is a place to simply “be.” It draws you in, and you may want to leave your frenzied, modern life behind you. Believe it or not, Bhutan had no TV or internet until 1999, and while many of the younger generation have made up for the lost screen time, the kingdom still feels separate from the rest of the modernized world. There isn’t even a traffic light in the capital city! You’ll be too busy soaking in the rich and well-preserved culture and landscape that you won’t mind waiting to connect until you’re back at the hotel.
Hiking in the Alps
Europe may not be the first place you think of when it comes to a digital detox. But there are places that make it easy to switch devices off and focus on the adventure. Being in the middle of the continent’s major mountain range is one of them. Two of the most famous long-distance routes in the Alps are the Tour du Mont Blanc (a circumnavigation around the Mont Blanc massif) and the Haute Route (a one-way route from Chamonix, France, to Zermatt, Switzerland). Both traverse over high passes without a trace of civilization for miles aside from the occasional cowbell echoing in the distance. Picnics in fields of wildflowers, snow-capped peaks towering above, a well-worn dirt track leading the way to the next charming Alpine village, wide-open views, receding glaciers in the distance—these epic hikes immerse you in unforgettable landscapes.
Matt Holmes is the Founder President of Boundless Journeys. Boundless Journeys is an award-winning tour operator that goes off the beaten path for immersive and authentic travel experiences.
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