Whither the future of travel?
On one hand, we have the cult of the hyper-connected. Take, for example, the new, ultra-wired offerings from the hotel brand aggressively marketing itself to the digital nomad tribe: Aloft, which supplies, in some locations, robot butlers and a Siri-style in-room service.
On the other — perhaps geared toward the moneyed part of the population that fondly remembers childhood dinners before "no phones at the table" had to be negotitated — we have a new wave of offline tours and destinations that ask guests to disconnect completely. Some go so far as to enforce the policy with handwritten contracts, although more often than not, we imagine its a product of mutual goodwill (good luck telling the hedgie in the corner suite he really can't have the wifi password).
The New York Times recently highlighted one such tour outfitter that swaps tech gear for notebooks in which travelers can record their observations, illustrations, hopes and dreams. ("The trip leader will send daily email updates to loved ones back home on request," the Times reports). Their name: the oh-so-aspirational Intrepid Travel.
We've got an awesome low-cost alternative, though: just head into the woods. Much of Alaska, the Times notes, is still off the cellular grid. Same with some developing countries, like Myanmar.
Just leave all the f***ing things at home and grab a compass.
You'll live, we promise.