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Beyond the Modern World: Adventures Off The Grid
Going off the grid is a nice concept, but it's something increasingly rare these days. Here are a few perfect spots where you can still achieve the #aspirational quiet of nature. Try #Australia, #Laos, or #India, a couple of places where I've found bliss.
When was the last time you were totally disconnected from the modern world? When you slept under the stars or cooked on an open fire? When you were miles from the nearest source of electricity, let alone wifi access? I have to admit it’s been a while for me – I don’t usually leave the house without a few gadgets and my packing list includes almost as many chargers as clothes. But those moments when you don’t have the distractions of technology or hotel comforts can be the times that you truly experience a place. Here are some of my top disconnected travel moments from around the world.
Sleeping In A Swag At Uluru
Uluru might be one of Australia’s most iconic and popular landmarks, but it’s still easy to feel miles from civilisation in the red centre. On a two-day trip from Alice Springs we spent the day walking around the base of Uluru before setting up camp for the night. We were each kitted out with a swag – a waterproof canvas bed roll with a mattress and sleeping bag inside, used by Australian bushmen for decades. Although I’d been camping plenty of times this was the first time I’d actually slept under the stars, and away from the light pollution of the cities the skies were incredible. It seemed like there was barely a clear patch of sky that wasn’t filled with pinpricks of light and the occasional shooting star.
Escaping To A Jungle Lodge In Laos
After two hectic months travelling around SE Asia, by the time we reached Laos we were burnt out. About 50km north of Vientiane we found remote Ban Pako, an eco-lodge on the banks of the Nam Ngum River. It was only accessible by river, so after a dusty bus ride we took a wooden longtail boat for the last part of the journey.
Set on a bend in the river, the lodge was built of bamboo on the site of an old temple. It was simple inside but had stunning views out across the jungle. You could go walking or swimming or just hang out in a hammock. There was only electricity for an hour each evening, so evenings were spent chatting and playing cards around the fire before lighting a paraffin lamp to find our way to bed.
Kayaking The Ord River
In remote north-western Australia, the Ord River runs through the Kimberley region. Armed with just a hand-drawn map to find our way, we were dropped off with Canadian kayaks and waterproof drums for our belongings and picked up three days later.
Kayaking Tour the Ord River
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We paddled with the flow of the river so it wasn’t too strenuous and we had plenty of time to soak up the scenery – a beautiful landscape of submerged trees and sheer rocks – and kept company by wild birds and even a few (non-deadly) crocodiles. If we got hungry we unpacked something to eat and floated along. If we got thirsty the river was so clean you could dip your cup in and drink. At the end of a day we found our wilderness campsite on the riverbank, with just a composting toilet and fire pit to cook on, and fell asleep to the sounds of the forest.
48 Hours On A Train Across India
Long journeys are great for disconnecting from the world, and 48 hours on a train from Goa to Delhi gave me plenty of time to absorb up the madness of India.
We spent two nights on board in three-tier bunk beds, sharing our cabin with a shy Indian couple who were just married and heading off on their honeymoon. We had books and CD players packed but didn’t really need them to keep us entertained. There’s always something going on onboard an Indian train – chai wallahs selling sweet fragrant tea, families unpacking tiffin boxes of food, vendors reaching in with food for sale. And that’s before you get to all the activity outside the window – a sensory overload of different colours, sights and smells passing by.