Step away from the smartphone

Did you reach for your phone first thing this morning? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Deloitte’s latest survey shows this tech has a special place in our hearts, whatever the time of day. Stats from their 2017 ‘State of the smart’ report demonstrate that in the UK: 

  • 55% of adults look at their phones within 15 minutes of waking.
  • 79% of adults choose to spend the last hour before bed unwinding on their phones.  
  • 17% of 16-24 year olds check their phones at least 100 times a day. 
  • 53% of 16-75 year olds use their smartphones while walking.

It’s easy to be swallowed up by social. You take one glance down at your phone, and next thing you know you’ve found your way to ‘top 10 cats in hats’ pictures. With a swift tap of a thumb we can share our latest brekky snap, status upload or location check-in with our friends, family and followers.

Leave your digital baggage at the door

Digital-dependence is on the rise, so what exactly does it mean to ‘digital-detox’ in this day and age? We’re talking about taking a holiday from your daily stresses, both physical and technological. Don’t just pack your bags and jet-set off — leave your digital baggage at the door too. 

The easiest way to temporarily cut ties with tech is to immerse yourself in a completely new experience. Stepping outside your comfort zone and engaging in different cultures is a great way to kick your usual data usage habits. Digital detoxing shouldn’t feel like a chore — whether its hiking, yoga, biking or sight-seeing, remember to fill your time with activities you enjoy!

Snow-shoeing in Finland 

Enjoy hiking in the Summer? Then try snow-shoeing in Finland’s winter wonderland. It’s easy to get to grips with even if it’s not the most graceful method of exploring the terrain. The best part? You can tread the unbeaten path and explore areas that other winter sports can’t reach. High speed is certainly not at the top of the agenda with this activity, however snow-shoeing offers a unique way to navigate the landscape at a pace where you can appreciate the wildlife.

Hiking in the Scottish Highlands 

Find your footing exploring the picture-perfect trails of the Scottish Highlands. With plenty of paths for all levels, it’s time to get the hiking boots prepped for the great outdoors. The epic landscape has featured in films like Harry Potter and Braveheart — and if it’s good enough for the movies, it’s good enough for us! Whether it’s conquering Ben Nevis, stumbling across fairy-tale castles, or looking out for the Loch Ness monster, there’s something for everybody. 

Biking in the Azores 

Challenge your quads whilst exploring the dramatic landscape of the Azores. This group of nine islands off the coast of Portugal makes for a dynamic playground with a beautiful backdrop. With steep ascents, daring descents and tight corners to navigate, there’s no time to be distracted by your smartphone! Don’t want to take our word for it? Check out this local’s guide of the top five mountain biking trails. 

If you fancy ditching the two wheels then the Azores offers plenty of other possibilities: from mountain hiking to beautiful volcanic viewpoints, to scuba diving in Santa Maria — you’ll have a hard time fitting it all in!

Canoeing in Estonia 

Relax as you glide on water through the winding wilderness of Sooma National Park. Every year around early spring, melted snow overflows into the floodplain, transforming the surrounding meadows, forests and roads into a water-based wonder. The boggy banks are the perfect base for beavers, and nestled in the forests you can spy elk, deer, wild boar, lynx, wolf and bears.  

If you like the sound of canoeing in a forest, then visit Estonia from April to October to experience their ‘fifth-season’. What better way to unwind than meandering through these flooded, untouched areas of European wilderness!

Foraging in Sweden

The best things in life are free — and you can really get a feel for this whilst foraging in Sweden. The country’s freedom to roam right means you can wander without restriction. Go primal and get up close and personal with nature — forage for food, sleep under the stars and swim in the lakes. Check out these top tips for picking mushrooms, berries and plants. All this exploring is hungry work after all, so grab a snack whilst you’re at it…

Lake swimming in Slovenia

Step away from social and into Slovenia’s many crystal clear rivers, lakes, waterfalls and streams. Yes, your Instagram followers would lap up the fairytale Lake Bled, but there’s time to boast about it on the journey home! Surrounded by mountains, Lake Bled offers a truly picturesque scene, complete with a Gothic church perched on an island in the middle of the lake. 

Lake Bohinj is Bled’s more remote, tranquil neighbour, located in the Triglav National Park. If you’re after a serene spot to immerse yourself in nature, then Bohinj is spot on. Located in the Alps, you can dip in and out of the natural extremities and experience the best of both worlds.

Reconnect with the physical world around you

Feeling inspired? Our top tip for August is to immerse yourself in the moment — try loosing track of time exploring the world instead of scanning your smartphone. And just in case you do get lost… pack a Primal bar for sustenance!