Say 👋 to Off The Grid, the phone-free travel company

Annnnd we’re live! 🚀

Today we launched Off The Grid, a travel startup that organizes groups of up to 30 people for 10-day trips to cities around the globe.

There’s one catch. It’s completely phone-free. You show up, trade your smartphone for a dumbphone, and spend a full week disconnected from the internet. And you get to do it with new friends.

Applications are now open for trips to Lisbon & Prague this summer, with trips to Barcelona, Croatia, Lima & Tulum on the way.

Before you say, “Ok, buddy — nice try, but you’ll have to pry my phone from my cold, dead hands,” bear with me for a paragraph or two while I explain.

I’ve worked in tech my entire professional life.

I loved it. It was fast-paced. It introduced me to all kinds of smart people. It taught me how to grind, test assumptions, and fail quickly.

And eventually I became tired. Not just physically tired, emotionally and mentally tired. I was the guy that slept with my phone under my pillow some nights. I’d wake up checking my phone and fall asleep checking my phone.

It’s an open secret in Silicon Valley that digital products like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are designed to be addictive. That’s why former employees of these companies are forming anti-tech lobbies and why Zuckerberg himself has said less time spent on Facebook can be a good thing.

No surprise here, but there’s a link between heavy phone use and depression. The average person picks up their phone 150 times per day. It’s wild. It’s not our fault. That’s how phones are designed.

The unfortunate side affect is what’s happening to our brain and bodies. Short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops literally change the way our neural pathways are wired. In short, they mess up our evolutionary reward system and make us feel crappy.

Think about the last time you:

  • Picked up your phone because you were bored
  • Found yourself scrolling mindlessly for long periods of time
  • Checked your phone first thing in the morning
  • Refreshed an app to check likes, notifications, etc.

Now think about refreshing and wonderful it would feel to let go of that pressure to be plugged in for a full 10 days. That’s why we built Off The Grid and why the world is ready for intentional, screen-free travel.

Break up with your phone and see the world

Applications are now open for 2018 trips to Lisbon & Prague with more trips opening April 1st. We’re looking for people with diverse experiences and backgrounds. Couples are welcome.

When you travel with us you’ll be part of a tight-knit group of people who believe in mindful technology, humane design, and self-improvement. Make lifelong friends, be part of a movement, and get a fresh perspective on life.

🌎 Here we go!

If you can’t make it this summer, but want to express interest in a future trip, you can do that here. Catch me on Twitter if you have questions.

“Your phone buzzes. A message, an Instagram post, a tweet — promising a brief but necessary hit of connection. All you have to do is look. But, just as an experiment, how long can you resist looking? A minute? Two? ”

— Farhad Manjoo, NYT