Let’s start with an unhappy truth: most of us spend the majority of our time sitting stagnant in front of a screen. Whether it is because of our careers, our hobbies, our bodies, or our other lifestyle choices, the modern world is conducive to extraordinary amounts of screen time. For me, I find that my phone can become very overwhelming; it’s a source of news (good and bad), constant communication, high expectations, and immediate gratification.
We all need breaks from our screens and the digital worlds we live in. We need reality, nature, and fresh air. Here are some of the best spots in Newfoundland that I have found to be perfect for leaving my phone behind and forgetting about it:
1. Green Gardens
The rolling green cliffs of Green Gardens in Gros Morne National Park are simply one of the most mesmerizing natural attractions in all of NL. The hike down to this location is not too difficult, and the hike back up is just enough to get your blood pumping and clear your head. Leave your phone in the car, but take a camera (or sketchbook, if that’s your thing).
2. Watching the Puffins in Elliston
Elliston, a tiny town on NL’s Bonavista Peninsula, is known for having one of the most up close and personal viewpoints for puffin-watching in the world (it’s also known for having a lot of root cellars). Typically, bird-watching requires a lot of patience, but in this case, you’re guaranteed to get a full dose of dopamine from these adorable little creatures. I could sit and watch them for hours– observing how they interact, how they dive into the water, and what they might catch and share with the others. Again, leave your phone in the car but take your camera.
3. Paddling with Icy Giants
Springtime in NL is the best time of year to catch a glimpse of a spectacular natural wonder: icebergs. From massive, multi-story towers to teeny-tiny bergy bits, icebergs are nothing else but awe-inspiring. It’s worth it to just find a viewpoint, like Cape Spear or Ferryland, to marvel at the icebergs; but for a true digital detox, try a kayaking excursion like this one.
4. Hiking Gros Morne Mountain
There is no other reward like what you get from hard work, especially physical work, and the sense of accomplishment that accompanies it. I mentioned that our screens and our digital worlds bring a sense of instant gratification; this can become so addicting, so necessary in our lives, that we feel unfulfilled without it. It’s why we’re so prone to endless scrolling and counting our likes. A long, challenging hike is one of my favourite ways to counteract that desire for instant gratification and remind myself that some of the best feelings in life come from challenging yourself. Gros Morne Mountain is perfect for that.
5. Witnessing the Annual Salmon Migration
In the summertime, you can witness an incredible natural phenomenon: salmon migrating upstream and jumping waterfalls along the way. I’ve seen this at Sir Richard Squires Memorial Provincial Park near Cormack, NL. Check out my post with details about finding the park and camping there. Like with the puffins, I could sit for hours and watch the salmon as they do what seems impossible.
6. Western Brook Pond Boat Tour
The fjords of Western Brook Pond are breathtaking. Leave your phone in the car, take the boat tour, and soak in the result of millions of years of unbelievable natural processes.
7. The Tablelands
This suggestion might seem overrated or obvious, but just think about it: the Tablelands is one of only two places in the entire world where the Earth’s mantle is exposed. Standing on that rocky red surface (without your phone) should give you immense feelings of gratitude, humility, and like you’re one of very few people having that experience in that exact moment.
What are your favourite places for a digital detox?