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A service providing themed "no digital technology" retreats

Image credit: https://www.victoriamag.com/antique-influence/

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Povilas S
Povilas S Dec 02, 2021
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I briefly touched on this idea in a creative contribution here. But as the topic keeps resurfacing through various sessions, I decided to post it as a separate idea.
The background: The time people spend using digital technology is ever-increasing. This is already seen and discussed in the light of addiction. Solving this problem is not easy as the sophistication of technology is growing exponentially and people are prone to it. One creative way to approach saving the situation is to create interest in the lack of technology, gamify it, make it trendy.
The idea: A service that rents themed accommodations with no or very little modern technology in them. Instead, the emphasis is placed on finding interest in the old, forgotten stuff and how people lived and entertained themselves when there was no Facebook, smartphones, and even TV.
By themed I mean that the environment of such accommodations would be adapted to, for example, a specific decade. The interior decor, the furniture, household items as well as the exterior - the garden, landscape design, etc. would match the style of that time. Staying at such accommodations would feel like traveling to the past.
The organizers should make sure there are enough things/activities to occupy the guests with so that they wouldn't start missing their smartphones soon. For example - a record player and a large collection of rare vinyls, a large selection of interesting table games from that period, a mini botanical garden with plants that were introduced to the country at that time, explaining their origin, uses, etc. In fact, every interesting item at the house could have a label attached to it with information to read about it. As part of the gamification, some old items could require the visitors to figure out how to use them.
Preferably all the accommodations should be in nature, this helps to relax your anxiety and eliminate the ADHD mindset induced by frequent screen use. The themes could and perhaps should be not only about different times but also different places. You could have a Moroccan house where you could smoke a hookah, an African theme where you would live in a traditional tent-like shed, etc.
How would it work: The company would have a booking-like website with different accommodations, their themes, prices, and availability listed on it. Customers would choose the accommodation depending on their intentions - if they wanted to have a party with friends they'd need more means of entertainment there, if someone wanted just to deeply relax during the weekend alone or with a partner/family, they could choose a house with more nature around, some books to read, etc.
Visitors would be asked to leave all their devices at home or in the worst case - in the car parked near the premises. Upon arrival, they would be searched by the owners in order to ensure they don't bring any "illegal" technology in. The price would depend on the type of accommodation and how much effort the organizers put in equipping it to gamify the experience. To make things even more in line, the guests could dress accordingly before arrival or they could be provided "appropriate" clothing by the owners, upon entry.
The benefits:
  • Novel business opportunity
  • A way to reduce tech addiction - when you spend some time without the thing you are addicted to, the addiction weakens and you might rethink your harmful habits in a different light
  • Combine leisure with the benefits of distracting yourself from addictive technology
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General comments

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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jiea month ago
I think this is a great idea that combines glamping while combating digital addiction at the same time! This has potential to also work alongslide this idea previously mentioned by someone else.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Glamping is not the main focus of the idea, some accommodations might involve glamping, but many would just be houses decorated/furnished in a specific manner, they would preferably reside somewhere in nature or less populated areas, but they'd have all the standard amenities, except digital technology. Glamping is a bit different concept.
I'm not sure it can be combined with the idea of home swapping, what do you mean exactly?:)
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Darryl Koh Yuan Jie
Darryl Koh Yuan Jiea month ago
Povilas S I was thinking along the lines about how there are some houses that still retain a certain architectural design of a certain era. For example, the neoclassical houses. Thus, it might be possible for home swapping to occur while immersing oneself in the vibe of that era. However, I do concede that most houses while retaining past era designs would have modern technology and appliances in there so adjustments would probably have to be made.
Regarding glamping, yeap I agree with your point, sorry if I wasn't clear enough. I wanted to clarify how much of the past you would replicate and how much of modern technology would still remain. For example, say someone wants to stay in a farm set in the 1900s, I imagine they realistically would not have a modern day washing machine to do their laundry.
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
Darryl Koh Yuan Jie Yes, I was thinking about recreating different decades between ~1900 and now, not older than that, but in fact, accommodations could be adapted to even older times, like middle ages, etc., just it would be more complicated and more expensive.
The exterior architecture of the house is not that important as the interior, because people would spend most of the time indoors. So in the case of home-swapping, it would be necessary for the owners to prepare their home in a specific old-fashioned style. A dedicated company that does only that would work way better.
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