Discover Wild Women’s Top Destinations to Unplug and Disconnect
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” Author Anne Lamott’s mantra is one that serves as both a reminder–and a challenge!
It’s difficult to separate phones from our daily lives–it’s where the grocery list lives. It serves as our GPS. There’s the flashlight feature, endless photos of your grinning grandkids and a Spotify playlist that you can’t walk without. How can you read a QR code-only menu at the new Thai fusion restaurant without your phone? Send an e-transfer? Identify that bird in your backyard without the Merlin Bird ID app? How are you supposed to take any pictures? What time is it? Yes, phones have become one big bad habit. Are you ready to travel off grid in airplane mode?
Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was no cell phone. There was perhaps a Lonely Planet guide and definitely a map. A camera with film. Pen, paper. A journal even! My own sister can’t fill the space of a birthday card without her hand cramping. We rarely write anymore. We text more than we talk. We rely on our phones for a steady feed of entertainment, news (usually in that order), streaming, music and constant connection. To step away from this is daunting–even over the course of a lunch with friends. Could you do it for a week? Can you turn your notifications off while you sleep?
If the temptation is insurmountable, contemplate these destinations where you don’t have a choice! There is no wifi or the spotty signal isn’t worth the scrolling effort. It’s no surprise that booking.com has suggested the 2024 trend will be “sleep tourism.” Sound dreamy? It’s a twist on the hippie counterculture of “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Want to turn off, tune in and drop out? Here are a few Wild Women destinations that cater to just that!
Unplug in Patagonia
At EcoCamp Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park, they simply said “NO” to wifi and encourage guests to “disconnect in order to reconnect” in their solar-powered accommodations. According to their site, “Americans spend an average of four hours watching TV and about seven-and-a-half hours on digital devices.” And, let’s get real–Canadians are right alongside them!
On Wild Women’s Patagonia Hiking Adventure, your stay at the world’s first geodesic domes focuses on connecting with nature–that’s all you have to do and how incredible is that? Have a genuine human experience and deep conversation while hiking to the Towers or apres-hike over delicious local refreshments face-to-face not via Messenger or Facetime. Real time!
Tanzania Safari: Tune Into Reality TV
At the Kwato fly camp where Wild Women pop tents for two nights, the best soundtrack to tune into is the all natural one. When dusk falls, the hyrax awakes. These rotund little mammals (about the size of a very plump guinea pig) will replace your phone’s notifications with their eerie and unforgettable screams.
Charging your phone will be a constant challenge in the Land Cruisers too. The bumpy, humpy “roads” of the Serengeti means that your charger will be constantly jumping out of the Land Cruiser power bar while you’re on the move. Instead of looking at your phone on the Tanzania Safari, put binoculars on your hand and be surprised by the real life feed of lilac-breasted rollers, slinking leopards, dozing prides of lions and elegant crowned cranes around you.
You may find a wifi connection at one of the hotels along the famed wildebeest migration route that you’ll be following– but trying to send photos to friends and family at home will be a lesson in patience. They can wait a few days–don’t miss that remarkable African sunset or treasured time sharing stories with your new Wild Women friends around the fire at Dunia Camp because you were trying to send a message!
Into and Out of the Northwest Passage on Airplane Mode
Why not use this historical route as a passageway to new, healthier habits? Sure, Franklin would probably eat up the latest technology advances and abandon the stars overhead to navigate in favour of a smartphone with Waze and Apple Maps BUT you have the pleasure and privilege of letting the Ocean Endeavour crew do the dirty work. European explorers searched in vain for this vital passage for 300 years, intent on finding a commercially viable western sea route between Europe and Asia. It’s the juxtaposition of time. Smartphone or scurvy? Captain Franklin did have the foresight to take three years of provisions on his voyage, but…
Wifi packages are available if you really must stay connected to communicate with elderly parents, your children or pet sitter. However, our polar expert, Franny, says that satellite internet is slow and super frustrating when it comes to social media uploads. It’s efficient enough for connecting with family members and friends through WhatsApp.
On some of our Atlantic Canada navigations, there could be a whiff of wifi near some of the communities or towns but you should be busy looking for belugas or puffins, not a signal! Same with the Galapagos Islands Yacht Adventure–you’ll have to dial into the constellations and Southern Cross above until the ship is in the radius of Puerto Ayora on Day 8.
Whether you choose to travel Into the Northwest Passage or Out of the Northwest Passage, these 17-day phone-free journeys will return you to the carefree days where startling scenery and long chats over tea happily occupied your time.
Though it’s not guaranteed, there may be a weather-dependent opportunity to visit the Penguin Post Office during the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica Explorers and Kings expedition. The gentoo penguin colony (a knee-high population of 3,000!) steals the show, of course. Here, at the British outpost in Port Lockroy, in the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula you can send a postcard with a view. Open November to March each year, volunteers track penguin (and people) behavior and–there’s no phone or internet connection. Just postcards. (*Watch for the next job posting here.)
Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu: Back to the Basics
If you really want to step back in time, shut off your phone and open yourself up to full spiritual enlightenment found on this monumental 8-day Wild Women trek. Following ancient Incan stairs, cobbles. adobes and exploring the ridgetop ruins of Sayaqmarka sets the mythical mood. Phuyopatamarka is suitably named–in Quechua, it means the “City above the Clouds”–so keep your head in the clouds, disconnected and totally revel in the peace that comes with not updating your status, looking at investor statements and hydro bills. Why would you want to look at any other Instagram account when you are smack dab in the middle of your dream? After making chocolate from scratch at a bean-to-bar workshop at Choco Museo on day one, keep with the theme of simplicity and getting back to the sweet basics.
Of course, you may choose to shut your phone off on any Wild Women trip and we cheerlead that challenge–but we do realize that it’s also your camera. Remember, you’ll have time in the airports to AirDrop photos to share with your group but why not stay in the serene disconnected groove? Grab a coffee and some postcards and send a message home, in true expedition style! In 1904, Captain Robert Falcon Scott sent close to 400 letters from the post office in Punta Arenas, Chile, to announce the safe return of the Discovery and its crew. His ship had set sail from England in August 1901 and had safely returned from its Antarctic navigation.
If you are on the Wild Women Patagonia Hiking Adventure, you can visit the Chilean Antarctic Institute (on Pl. Benjamín Muñoz Gamero 1055) and see the plaque that commemorates Scott’s ambitions (and his extreme letter writing powers!).
Ready to disconnect? First, give us a call at 1-888-993-1222 and book your off-grid adventure. Then, hang up and hang out with your Wild Women crew!