why we travel

I Tried It: A Digital Detox At A Floating Retreat On A Lake In Northern Thailand

The verdict: We should ALL do a digital detox on occasion, no matter where we are. (But if you can make it to Om Waters, definitely, definitely do it there.)

The Universe has a funny way of making sure you are in the right place at the right time. While traveling through Thailand last month, for instance, I was introduced to Tara and Joe, the owners of a floating retreat center outside Chiang Mai in Sri Lanna National Park. (Yes, apparently, a floating retreat center is a thing. A wonderful, wonderful thing.) Unsurprisingly, I soon found myself headed for said retreat (aptly called Om Waters), along with a small group of yogis and body workers. We spent two glorious days basking in the sun, reading books, kayaking, paddle boarding, practicing yoga, cooking and eating together—and so much more.

We didn’t use phones, and there wasn’t any Wi-fi. There wasn’t even another human in sight aside from our group. Which makes sense, since we were literally floating in the middle of a lake, and completely surrounded by mountains. By day, the sun seemed to shine just a little bit brighter, and, by night, the stars were the brightest I had ever seen in my life. Out there, I found a sense of peace and whole-ness that I had been searching for my entire trip. Turns out all I needed to do was to step away from technology (that smartphone, that laptop), surround myself with the right people and revel in the nature around me.

Sometimes the Universe gives us a sign telling us to slow down, to disconnect, to unplug so that we can, in turn, reconnect. Other times, the Universe isn’t so subtle, and instead stops us in our tracks so that we have nothing to do except to take a big deep breath and just chill the hell out. That’s what Om Waters does: It stops you in your tracks and all but forces you to remember that we are all here on Earth to connect with ourselves and those around us. Om Waters heals from the inside out.

Traveling, in general, can do this, too: Remind you of how good life really is. Seeing the world will speed you up, and slow you down, and throw unplanned adventures at you when you’re least expecting it. My journey reminded me that we don’t need to always be rushing around and living in a constant world of stress. Life is good and it’s ok to slow down, to chill out, to enjoy all the beautiful things around you. The time I spent at Om Waters, specifically, reminded me to ditch the phone, shut off the computer, stop worrying about every little thing and simply sit back and love my life… and that’s something we should all do more often, no matter where we are.

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