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City seeks digital detox for a wholesome vacay

Retreats that allow one to disconnect from social media are the new kind of vacations that Chennaiites are opting for this summer.

City seeks digital detox for a wholesome vacay
Phone submission at the retreat; Travellers taking up farming during a digital detox trip


You’ve reached your favourite hill station you have always wanted to visit. Soon as your mobile network welcomes you to this new location, you are prompted to click pictures of the landscapes to offer a glimpse of the vacation to Instagram followers and Facebook friends.

And there it begins, an endless chain of notifications, ‘likes’ and messages asking about your whereabouts, absorbing you so much into your phone that most of the vacation has already gone by. If this sounds familiar to you, then you’re not alone. Many Chennaiites, who have had enough of the constant buzzing of phones throughout the year, are taking up retreats this holiday season that also offer them a digital detox.

City-based blogger, Antara Pandit, a mother of two young boys aged 2 and 4, is keen that her family’s summer vacations are spent outdoors, close to the nature. “The only time we use a digital device is on the flight, for entertainment purpose. Other than that, we keep away from phones and tablets throughout our vacation. Instead, we take up boating, walk across the city and go on long drives. We have planned a trip to Kodaikanal the coming week, where we will undertake a lot of outdoor activities like visiting a sheep farm, swimming and trekking. The idea is to have conversations while we sit at the dining table, and learn from the nature, instead of being lost in the phones,” Antara tells DT Next.

Thirty-two-year-old psychologist and counsellor from Chennai, Sneha Hindocha, is also one among those travellers keen on detoxing digitally during their vacations. “During my travel, I choose to stay away from my phones — which allows me to have a wholesome vacation. Usually, the urge to check my phone often is high when I carry it. It gives me mental peace to not have the mobile on me all the time and keep checking it. I feel so much more refreshed after a digital detox, with a fulfilling feeling of having spent quality time with family,” she says.

It is necessary for people to keep away from social media at least for a few days in a month so as to be able to focus better on their lives, stresses Sneha. “Digital detox helps me sleep better and have a time off from the constant notifications. It also helps me live in the moment than be occupied in capturing pictures and sharing them on social media. I think everyone should keep away from their phones at least for a couple of days in a month, if they can’t do vacations without them,” she adds.

Chandni Aggarwal, the founder of Transforming Travels, has been organising digital detox retreats for the past two years for those looking to be freed from the burdens of mobile phones. “People feel happy that they can find such vacations where they can reside at a farm in a quaint village. Everyone submits his/her phone and engages in organic farming, dairy farming, beekeeping, discovering the region on foot and learning about local cultures. There has been good response to the retreats we usually plan in northern India, closer to hills, that we are looking to host one in South India as well,” she says.

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