The saying, “No matter where you go, there you are,” may make more sense in modern times if phrased as, “No matter where you go, there your smartphone is.” The ubiquity of modern technology means traditional vacations no longer offer a proper escape—work can still reach you, as can friends, family, and the incessant pressures of social media. Because of this, the newest trend in travel involves analog destinations that remove the option of digital connection for those who can’t otherwise bring themselves to unplug.
Getaway offers tiny cabins where renters are encouraged to lock away their phones and “rediscover the pleasure of boredom, solitude, and unstructured time” while participating in restorative practices such as forest bathing, its website notes.
Getaway, a start-up founded by two Harvard graduates, marries this trend with the growing popularity of tiny homes to offer vacation rentals that promise a refreshingly minimalist environment in which to undergo a digital detox. According to the Washington Post, Getaway currently offers tiny cabins outside New York City, Boston, and Washington, DC, for about $160 a night. There, renters are encouraged to lock away their phones and “rediscover the pleasure of boredom, solitude, and unstructured time” while participating in restorative practices such as forest bathing, its website notes.
The concept is working, too. The tiny cabins are booked solid on weekends by city dwellers hoping to reclaim their ability to live in the present moment and, perhaps, finish that novel they’ve been reading for months (or years!). The company raised $15M this year, which the Post suggests may fund expansion projects.
Getaway’s popularity, according to the Post, has to do not only with digital burnout but also with the idea that millennials love material minimalism (e.g. tiny homes) because they can’t afford not to love minimalism—debt and soaring housing costs mean they’re unlikely to return to the sprawling suburban homes in which they grew up. (But the verdict is still out on whether or not avocado toast is to blame for this reality.)
Ironically, it was there, in those suburban bedrooms, that boredom became something to escape for so many folks. Now, the art of doing nothing is a luxury worth escaping to—for, apparently, $160 a night.
If a full-on digital detox sounds daunting, toe-dip in by exploring digital minimalism instead. Also, here’s how to practice restraint with your news consumption in 2018.