I was talking to my husband about this log cabin in Sweden for family holidays which has no Wi-Fi and no charging points. It is designed to help you unplug yourself as a family and say a fond farewell to technology (well, for a short time anyway). I'm thinking that this is an excellent opportunity for me to scrub up on my scrabble board skills and an even better, an opportunity to use my deluxe scrabble board.
I asked my husband what he thought about the 'going off grid' idea. He said he would happily go, but he laughed at the very thought of me every surviving without my smartphone. Cheeky - but perhaps true.
Now, I realise there is some irony here as I am a woman in tech. I sell smartphones for a living for the last twenty odd years. So, could I possibly survive a digital detox? Quite honestly, I wasn’t even sure I could last twelve hours but either way; I am terribly intrigued.
I've never travelled to Sweden but almost feel like I have (I have watched far too much Scandi-crime). Aside from watching various episodes of the Danish drama series, The Killing, which is amazing by the way, I only developed a fascination for cabins after watching Dominic West in The Affair penning the final pages of his novel whilst lifting Ruth Wilson into various sexual positions. But wait. I have an important question – did Dominic West have access to Google? Probably. So, I ask - what if there was no Wi-Fi at all?
I was reading in The Guardian some time ago about how, in summer, half of Sweden decamps to the log cabins that fringe the country's 100,000 deserted lakes. They see it as a relaxing dose of cabin fever and it’s easy to understand why.
With the mental health of us Brits under constant strain, perhaps getting back to nature could be the antidote we need for modern life.
Last year, Visit Sweden and West Sweden Tourist Board teamed up with researches from Stockholm’s Karolinska Institutet to conduct the case study into how allemansrätten (the freedom to roam) can improve mental and physical wellbeing. They invited five participants with high-stress jobs – including a police officer, broadcaster, journalist and taxi driver – from Paris, London, Munich, and New York to stay in the off-grid, wifi-less cabins.
These five individuals were invited to stay off-grid in wifi-less cabins for three days to participate in ‘traditional’ Swedish outdoor activities such as swimming, fishing and cooking. The TV programme monitored them for their stress and happiness levels. I didn’t get to see the results in full, but I can imagine. Improvements in working memory and a more focused attention? Reduced stress levels? Am I right?
Several studies tell us that just a short stroll in nature can change how we feel for the better. For example, a survey of 1,000 adults by Ribble Cycles in February found that they spent, on average, only 8 per cent of their weekdays — less than two hours — outside. Last year a poll revealed that three quarters of UK children spend less time outside than prison inmates. What a worrying statistic.
Autumn is such a beautiful time to be outdoors and just thirty minutes can be enough to boost your mood. So, you might not be ready for a zero Wi-Fi, are no power socket log cabin just yet, but if not, I would just recommend that if nature calls, please…just go to it.
Can you recommend some amazing places to go off grid? If so, please drop me a line with your recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org