Chuck your phone, scrap your plans, and slow the heck down … introducing
our guide to relaxed holidays, Pico Iyer extols the virtues of mindful travel
“I have some bad news,” my British tour operator told me as I prepared to return to North Korea four months ago. “The DPRK is really short of basic materials. You’re going to have to take your own snacks and water. Even soap.” Then he brightened up. “The good news is that it’s still quite hard to get online there and most mobile phones don’t work. So you’ll be free for as long as you’re there!”
It wasn’t the first time of late I’ve encountered such wisdom. In Namibia a year earlier, I realised that one of the sovereign blessings of the place is that, in nine days and nights, I had barely gone online and had made and received exactly one phone call (to my wife, to remind her when I would be coming home). And, of course, in the presence of desert-adapted rhinos and sand dunes the height of skyscrapers, I had never begun to miss the tiny screen.