While our world is incredibly beautiful even after humans ruining much of natural beauty and adding to urban chaos, we still remain stressed out, anxious and highly strung. A major reason for this stress and anxiety is because we are constantly hooked to the Internet & smartphones. Those of us who are inexorably connected to technology, like the ones who are in to IT or those who run tech start-ups, are incredibly more affected by the Internet.
In fact, most of us use the Internet 24/7, while most of us check our smartphones every 7 minutes on average. People just do not take the time to unplug and that is certainly having a disastrous consequence on our mental & physical health. There is an increased incidence of stress-related diseases such as blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and even cardiovascular diseases.
While our lifestyle can greatly change, if we want to, sometimes it is advisable to unplug and take a vacation to a distant place. However, you should go to a place where there is no Internet or cellphone signal. That way, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to access either your e-mails or Facebook feed or Twitter conversations. We have made a list of places around the world where your cellphone or tablet is going to be as useless as a brick.
Aran Islands, Ireland
Ireland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Though it has had a disturbing recent history, it has a rich culture, great music and amazing pubs to visit. A trip to Dublin will leave you spoiled for choices when it comes to pubs, live music, art galleries and such. However, the point of this article is to help you go to a place where there is no internet or cellphone connectivity. The Aran Islands, which are located to the west of Ireland, are a great place to unplug. The islands are a short ferry ride away but do not have smartphone signals or Internet connectivity. You could choose to stay in a thatched hut or in a small stable, where you can smell hay and horses, instead of checking who liked your comments and if anyone replied to your e-mails. With the breathtaking vies that the region offers, you will really not miss glossing over Instagram pictures on your smartphone.
Yellow Stone National Park, United States
Right in the middle of hyper-connected U.S., there are places where you will never be able to make a call, receive an SMS or read an e-mail. The Yellow Stone National Park is one such region where there is absolutely no connectivity whatsoever. You can, instead, admire the rustic beauty of mountains and watch the bison walk around. You might even want to take a dip in the cold rivers of the park. There are a few lodges that offer basic connectivity but the connection tends to be so slow that you will give up trying to check your e-mail. Instead, take horse riding lessons, watch the birds and learn to count the stars at night. Watching the patterns that clouds make and imagining stories in them will help you to de-stress as well.
Kenya’s Ewaso Ngiro River
There is nothing better than some animal-watching on the outskirts of Nairobi, very close to shopping districts and all the night hotspots. However, a short drive away from civilization will take you to Samburu Safari Camp, where you can watch elephants and register them in your memory, instead of uploading those pictures on Instagram. The nearest Internet connectivity is probably 4 miles away at the Elephants Research Camp and that is probably not fast either. Kenyan wilderness is world famous and you can learn a lot about animals’ lives instead of Googling them on your cellphone. It is always better to hear an elephant trumpet instead of watching the same on YouTube. Enjoy a Kenyan meal and try to get some exercise by walking around camping areas.
Tristan da Cunha, Atlantic Ocean
Tristan da Cunha is an archipelago that lies in the middle of South Atlantic. It is almost 3,000 kilometers away from either South America or Southern Africa. It is known as the most isolated group of islands in the world that is inhabited. With a very mild climate that rarely drops below freezing and never rising above 25 degree Celsius, Tristan da Cunha is known for its wildlife, scenic beauty & disconnectedness. In fact, there is only one internet connection that is so slow that you probably will never be able to check your emails. The fact that it is difficult to use the Internet and the fact that it is so isolated is enough to make you want to go to Tristan da Cunha. It might be a little difficult to travel to the islands but that is part of the journey of getting disconnected from the internet anyway.
Though it gets a lot of bad rep, it is one of the beautiful places on earth. You can choose to go and stay in an inhabited village somewhere in Morocco, which is not only safe but easily accessible, when it comes to transportation. However, once you reach the villages on the border of Sahara Desert, you can forget about those e-mails, telephone calls and Instagram pictures. Sahara Desert is very remote and there is almost no way you can ever get a decent Internet connection. Instead, enjoy the emptiness and beauty around you. The sand dunes, the whirring breeze and the cold air at night should be enough to make you wish there was no Internet in this world. Try and camp in the desert and at night, you can again begin to count all the stars, instead of counting all the comments you got for your last Facebook update.
American Samoa, U.S. Pacific Territories
Though these islands belong to the U.S., they are very remote and are located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The islands are also known for having the most expensive Internet connections in the U.S. In fact, you can almost understand these islands as connection-free and totally unplugged. While there are a few hotels that offer Wi-Fi and you might be able to visit Internet cafes; they are hard to find and for all practical purposes, you will be disconnected from the Internet. What’s better than being able to soak in some sun and enjoy the cool Pacific breeze? Certainly not checking e-mail or posting Twitter updates. When you are in American Samoa, make sure that you experience the local culture and try some local cuisine as well. Samoans are known for their music, culture and dance. It is always better to learn something about a new culture in real than watching it on YouTube.
Stay in a Ger or Yurt in Mongolia
This vast and expansive Central Asia nation is remote by itself. Even its own capital city is remote and removed from the rest of the world. But alas, Ulan Bator, the capital of Mongolia, is as crowded and chaotic as any other capital city in the world. It also has enough smartphones buzzing around you to make you wish you never left your office anyway. However, just a few miles away from the capital, you can find isolation from everything that is modern. Try and find a local guide who will be able to help you find a place where you can live in a traditional Yurt or Ger, which are tents that are specially made to weather the Central Asian cold. Here, you will neither be able to send an e-mail nor receive a telephone call. Happy Mongolian nomads will be glad to offer you tea and soup to keep you warm. When you feel like ‘connecting’, you could send friend requests to hairy camels and horses, which gallop away at a distance.
All these places and many more can be great destinations to escape the onslaught of technology. Take a vacation for at least a week or two so that your nerves recuperate and when you are back to civilization, you realize the value of solitude, calm & peace. A lot of Internet and smartphone in our lives can affect not only our mental health but also physical health. When we are stressed out, our performance goes down and our business suffers as well. While technology is great, we all need to take a break from it often.