Put your hand up if you have a bigger fear than checking the ‘Screen Time’ app on your phone. There isn’t a spider big enough or a snake with big enough teeth to make us want to ever subject ourselves to the horror of knowing we spend three hours every day just scrolling through Instagram.
Now, let’s get one thing straight. We’re not slamming tech. We’re #TeamCoco, we love tech. I’m typing this right now on a laptop, and you’re probably reading on one. You have your phone next to you, I have my phone next to me. Since typing these last two paragraphs I’ve watched forty-seven TikTok videos of young lads pushing their nans down hills in trollies. Tech is great.
What we are slamming are these addictions we have developed which prohibit us all acting like human beings. After lockdown, enough was really enough with the swiping, scrolling and binging, so we decided to do something about it.
There are many a digital detox retreat out there – we’ve even tried a couple of them ourselves. But simply telling you not to go on your phone throughout a weekend is about as useful as when you push away a half tube of Pringles with a “take these away from me” yet knowing full well you’re going in for the full scran any minute now. We need someone to literally prise our phones from our clenching fists and lock them away. Enter, Unplugged.
The first of its kind in determination to get your eyes away from the screen for a weekend to be at one with nature, yourself, or your companions. They quite literally lock your phone away in a box for three days and send you off to a cabin. Literally. Yes, they lock it away.
A word of warning. Seeing your precious phone be locked away will momentarily mess with you. It won’t take you long to scour the cabin for a sharp object in which to break open the box and retrieve your phone to check your DMs. But you won’t, you’ll hang in there, you’ll get over it, and you’ll have one of the most relaxing weekends you’ve had since the dawn of the push notification.
Our experience was absolute bliss. The cabins are self-sufficient with everything you’ll need for a few days and with luxe touches like rainfall showers and a Scandi vibe. In exchange for your device, you’ll receive your off-grid essentials to stop you from going completely insane. This is in the form of a custom map of the area (it is alarming how many of us have become reliant on Google Maps to make it out of our own streets), postcards to send to loved ones, and a polaroid camera to capture your stay (and probably feel a bit hypocritical when you upload to Instagram later).
The only other thing you’ll need to bring with you is the food to eat during your stay as the cabin has a small kitchen, and cooking stuff for you to use. If cooking isn’t your bag, there are a few pubs nearby that serve up food. But be careful, as one of the essential parts of retreats for us is that separation from normality, and you don’t want this disturbed – even the local farmer waving at us felt like we were too close to normal life.
We’re all so fired up by work and excessive social lives that having the self-control to switch it off and ignore your life can be impossible. Here, not having access to your phone goes from being debilitating, to becoming a luxury.