Are you in need of a digital detox? Tell-tale signs that you are include checking your emails before you've even got out of bed in the morning, only looking up if it's to take a photo for Instagram and using 'just one more episode' as a maxim for life. If that sounds familiar then step this way because we know all the very best destinations and experiences for a truly fulfilling digital detox. It's time to put down the iPhone and step into a brave new world...
With just 1.1 people per square mile, Namibia is the fifth least populated country on earth and an obvious destination for anyone wanting to really get away from it all. What's more, Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, deep in the beautiful NamibRand desert, has introduced the concept of Solitude. Overlooking the vast red sand dunes of the desert, the lodge consists of nine individual 'chalets' (built on wooden platforms and raised on stilts) away from the main lodge building. Guests are taken to an even quieter corner of the camp where they can soak up the views in total peace and contemplate life, the universe - the NamibRand is a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, meaning you can see more stars than almost anywhere else in the world - and everything we don't usually have time for.
Sparsely populated Australia averages just eight citizens per square mile, 85% of whom live within 30 miles of the coast, leaving plenty of wonderful (and wifi-less) wilderness ripe for exploration, so strap on your walking boots and tackle the three-day Arkaba Walk in South Australia. Starting in the Wilpena Pound, an amphitheatre of towering rock, you'll trek through native pine forest and over craggy sandstone peaks, spotting kangaroos, emus and wallaroos as you go. And the best bit? Nights are spent sleeping al fresco on a 'star bed' - think super comfy swag bags and hot showers, topped off with an indulgent three-course meal and fine Australian wine.
Another wonderfully remote (control-free... sorry) place, is Antarctica. There's nowhere on earth quite like the vast, white wilderness of this continent. We all know the stories of Scott and Shackleton, but nothing quite compares to following in the footsteps of our great Antarctic explorers and skiing the last degree (roughly 60 nautical miles) to the geographic South Pole. Not for the faint of heart, or leg for that matter, the fortnight-long expedition involves skiing across country pulling all of your supplies on a pulk (sledge). That being said, there are few experiences more worth the effort than reaching the South Pole under your own steam, as the explorers of old did.
If you're more spiritual than sportive, we can think of no better spot to find oneself than amid the evergreen forests, glacial rivers and towering Himalayan peaks of Bhutan where internet and phone signal are sparse at best. Journey through the Kingdom, trekking to ancient monasteries, meditating with Buddhist monks and crafting tsa tsa (clay amulets which hold a monks' prayer and are hung outside for the breeze to carry the prayers out into the universe), before coming to rest in Amankora's five beautiful lodges by nightfall. Indeed, the name Amankora lends itself perfectly to a spiritual journey; Aman is Sanskrit for peace, while kora means 'circular pilgrimage' in Dzongkha - a true digital detox.
Out in the wilderness of the good ol' US of A, one of our favourite ranches - The Resort at Paws Up - takes guests back to nature for a few days. Away from digital distractions you can wrangle cattle, gallop across vast open country and relax in the wondrous spa, and that's without even mentioning the private island, water-based fun and foodie adventures. After spending time here, even the most iPad-obsessed children have been known to transform into proper outdoorsy types.