As technologists living online in real time all the time, it is easy to lose perspective on life. A new retreat called “The Digital Detox” offers a unique solution to recharge and reconnect by surrendering technology for a few days in a magical setting with like-minded fellows. Created by Levi Felix and Brooke Dean, “The Digital Detox” is a handcrafted experience for the brave who are willing to surrender, open their minds and let go through daily yoga, hot springs, and gourmet vegan fare surrounded by nature, a redwood forest and a starry sky only a two hour drive from San Francisco. TechZulu had a chance to catch up with Levi and ask him some questions.
What is The Digital Detox?
The Digital Detox is a tech-free personal wellness retreat where attendees give up their smart-phones and gadgets in exchange for serenity and bliss. Four days off the grid – with no clocks, technology or media – a chance to getaway from the fast paced world and truly recharge.
How did The Digital Detox get started?
After a near death experience and much contemplation, I left the tech world and an amazing job to wander the planet. I spent the past 2+ years backpacking around the world with my partner Brooke seeking balance, studying yoga and meditation, working on farms, living on a small secluded island in Cambodia where we helped run a guesthouse and yoga retreats (with only rain water, solar power and 9 other island residents), volunteering for nonprofits, and consulting tech companies along the way… getting our roots together again and re-evaluating what it means to live in one of the most interesting times on the planet as we are more connected to information and each other than ever before: trying to discover how to find balance in the digital age.
On our return we realized that the world had not slowed down, everyone was always plugged-in, and burnout was all around us (or looming on the horizon especially for those involved in tech). So we decided that we wanted to share what we had learned traveling with those back home. We created The Digital Detox retreat (an idea we started playing with on the island in Cambodia) as a way to provide people with the opportunity to put aside their digital arm, ”re-format” their own personal hard-drives, and get an experience that would inspire them to make changes to lead a more balanced life. We wanted to help prevent burn-out and inspire others to take time for themselves. We were eager to give people the “feeling” of travel without having to go far- the sense of freedom, presence and transformation – and in turn, have time to reflect, grow and dream.
What happens on The Digital Detox?
You surrender your phone, computer, iPod, watch and all other forms of technology. Then our dedicated team works to create a space that gives you the freedom and permission to truly unplug and decompress. Participants spend their time soaking in hot springs, eating delicious and healthy organic Ayurvedic inspired meals, stretching out each morning with two hours of yoga, staying grounded through guided meditations, exploring new ideas in workshops, writing, drawing, sharing in group discussions and being present. It’s transformational on all levels; we promise you’ll walk away with new perspective.
How do you choose your locations?
We find special and magical locations that connect the participant with the natural world and themselves via stunning beauty, peace and quiet, and some form of natural phenomenon. We seek locations with healing elements, such as hot springs, volcanos, waterfalls and rivers. And we love giant redwoods, clear skies for amazing stargazing, birds and wildlife… far from the noise of city life.
So, this is not a networking event?
Simply stated, our retreats are designed to be personal growth and getaway retreats for individuals. These are not networking events, summits or conferences where people exchange business cards, or meet-ups where we create opportunities to make contacts that further our careers. In fact, it is prohibited to speak about work or careers at our retreats. We want to create an environment where we not only disconnect from technology, but we also disconnect from our typical societal roles and expectations… we give each other the respect to detox from all aspects of busy life, allowing for true liberation and relaxation, a chance to breathe and pause. With that being said, expect a good balance of structured and free time; giving the opportunity for as much introspection as reflection. By the end of the weekend, you will most likely make deep connections with other participants (if you choose so). However these connections won’t be based on our career choices or media, or on a Facebook post we liked or tweeted, but on a shared experience with incredible impact.
We heard you make the incredible vegan food (even for meat eaters)?
As vegetarians, we’ve learned how to make food that not only tastes good and is healthy, but that can please our family of meat eaters. We have a team of amazing Ayurvedic chefs that have created an experience of the senses that will tantalize the mouths of even the most carnivorous participants. Expect thai fusion salads, raw-avocado coconut soup, veggie style sushi, Cambodian curries, gluten free spaghetti squash, raw caco truffles, alongside fresh cold pressed juices, and homemade chai-teas to boot.
Yoga and meditation and nature are included in the theme, tell me why this is important?
We spend so much of our life hunched over behind a computer or sitting in a chair, we want to get our participants moving and more in touch with their bodies. Using the tools of Yoga, blended with the serene nature, together we tap into the peace within and explore the vibrant healthy energy in our lives. Morning classes, taught by our partners – ZazenSF.com - are geared towards beginners and advanced students alike, and since we keep retreats small in size, we are able to truly encourage each student to listen to his/her own unique body. Regardless of your experience, everyone learns something new for their practice.
What makes The Digital Detox unique from say, just taking a mini vacation with friends?
We curate the entire experience with the intention and strategic plan to give you the chance to reflect, recharge and leave more refreshed than ever before. Once you are at the retreat, you do not need to worry about anything. We handle all the logistics and details, provide you with an entire schedule of customized activities, and make sure that your experience off-the-grid is everything you are looking for. This isn’t about going on vacation, it’s about taking weight off your shoulders, unplugging and providing you with the opportunity and tools to grow.
When is the next Detox?
We have upcoming retreats in September and October. Our next retreat is September 13th-16th… and if people mention this blog post in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, we can give them a 10% discount on the retreat price.
You have many prices? So how much does it cost?
In an effort to make The Digital Detox Retreat accessible, we’ve created a tiered pricing system. We are pretty transparent in that our baseline cost is about $675/person, though we understand that wallet sizes range and we don’t want that to stop someone from joining us. So use a “choose your own” pricing model from $700-$950 and allow individuals to choose their own price. In addition, we are also pretty flexible – so if the price is still to high for you, feel free to shoot us an email and we can figure something out. We also have a scholarship price of $450 for those in need of a big break and we offer a discounted price for double shared rooms (for couples or friends looking to share a bed). We just ask that people be honest in what they can pay, and in the end it will all work out. Honesty and flexibility are some of our favorite currencies – behind a good hug and an amazing experience. We can also work out payment plans… just ask us.
Do you do corporate retreats, coaching or even?
Yes! We also do corporate retreats and getaways for team building, ex-meetings, groups and individuals. We can customize a retreat for a companies needs and return participants refreshed, renewed and inspired. In addition, we do in-house team, management and employee consulting/coaching. We also love doing events and curating experiences that brings the creativity, fun, inspiration and feeling of The Digital Detox to an office or event – whether its for a few hours or an afternoon. We call them Analog Zones, and can transform any space into a yoga studio, creative hub, juice and bliss bar, while bringing in massage therapists or simply leading a workshop the gets the creative juices and balanced mindset going.
How can people learn more?
It’s simple – http://thedigitaldetox.org/registration/