CLOSER TO THE SELF — Does total disconnection exist? Is it possible to completely break free from the buzz of our daily lives and the hubbub of the city? What if happiness could be found elsewhere? What if we embraced nature and isolated ourselves to better find ourselves? Isn’t true disconnection about focusing on the essentials? Talking with friends or loved ones, living in harmony with the wind, listening to the chirping of the birds, reading a real paper novel, meditating by the ocean… Let’s take a trip—let’s return to nature, which is so close, yet so quickly overlooked! There are trips that are good for the body and mind, trips to clear your head, to feel alone in the world, or alone as a couple, far from WiFi and the urban hustle and bustle. Forget about all the networks—besides, here, the closest one is miles away. On this island or this mountain, in this oasis, this medieval village, or this house full of soul, you can finally relax. Here are a few potential destinations to return to the source, in three phases.
breathe in the nordic spirit
There are places, paradoxically very close, that make our minds wander; places with a quasi-mystical aura that attract our souls. A little further north, with our feet in the Atlantic, we would love to stay trapped in the landscapes of Newfoundland. Landscapes swept by the winds, an impetuous ocean, and unique encounters, the island offers a breath of fresh air to the travellers who venture there. The first place in the Americas to be colonized around the year 1000 by the Vikings, its extreme location makes it a preserved destination even today. Once extricated from our habits and our environment, this is the perfect setting to plant the seeds of rejuvenation and let new sensations grow and sparkle. While travel, strictly speaking, seems to open up the paths of introspection, we take this journey according to our personality: through immersion in nature, contemplation, encounters, or even yoga. There’s no need to go very far to find oneself.
the voyageur address : fogo island inn
It is to Canadian architect Todd Saunders that we owe the masterful design of this hotel, reminiscent of a futuristic ocean liner, spectacularly positioned overlooking the Atlantic in Newfoundland. Its steep, impressive lines, which reflect its environment, offer a breathtaking panorama. Its Scandinavian-style rooms punctuated by colours are cozy and spacious, and the bed that sits in the centre has a view of the ocean, so you feel like you are sleeping in the water. This is a surprising blend of tradition and avant-garde design, with a remarkable ecological sensitivity. The authenticity of this invigorating space, which is committed to honouring the cultural and intellectual heritage of the island, demonstrates an attractive modernity. Nature is at the heart of the facility, and serenity is gently invited into your soul, inevitably enamoured with so much splendour.
embrace the forest
Did you know? Doctors in British Columbia can prescribe “forest baths” in Parks Canada’s national parks through the nature prescription program. At least two hours per week, to feel calmer and happier and to reduce stress, immersing yourself in the forest is undoubtedly beneficial. This practice, known as shinrin yoku, has been experienced in Japan since the 1980s.
Forest bathing involves immersing yourself in nature, perfectly still, for a few minutes, or even several hours. Forests and jungles enliven us; here, we touch the gentle tumult of life, and we let ourselves be overpowered by the intoxicating sounds of the tropics. We will then have to go and discover the emerald jewel of the Malay archipelago: the island of Borneo and its sublimely wild parks. We will explore Bako National Park, where hikes are an opportunity to cross paths with macaques, wild boars, and crocodiles. A splendid setting where the karst rocks emerge splendidly from the water. We will then head to Batang Ai National Park, which promises a fleeting, moving encounter with the orangutans in their natural habitat. The hospitality of the Iban tribes is guaranteed; they will welcome you into their (very) long houses where they live as a family. Like an explorer— who hasn’t dreamed of one day going to the very end of this world, to the furthest reaches? Experiencing Borneo means going to recharge your batteries in the heart of a green lung, far from people and close to the gods. The last few kilometres will be covered in a 4×4, seaplane, canoe, or on foot: the end of the plant world is worth it.
the voyageur address : nanga sumpa lodge
Built entirely from wood, this lodge is located beside the home of the Iban people, a local tribe that can be visited. Here, we’re not looking for the comfort of a traditional hotel, instead we’re forgetting about the phone, the TV, and the air conditioning, and we’re making room for beautiful encounters and the sounds of the jungle. A stone’s throw away, you can take several hiking trails through the jungle, go swimming in the river or under waterfalls, and head off in search of orangutans.
dip your feet in the water
A dreamy hut, a few palm trees, a deserted coastline, the catch of the day. Are you in? A gently swaying hammock and a good book: a simple longing for the beach. This may be the ultimate disconnection, the idea that we have of this island at the end of the earth, surrounded by the ocean, cut off from its old world. Polynesia brings this ultimate island image to life. A fifteen-minute flight from Tahiti, the Tetiaroa Atoll embodies the image of an earthly paradise in its very essence. The view from this collection of small islands, called motu, is singularly beautiful. A crystal-clear lagoon, preserved vegetation, birds of all colours— Tetiaroa was purchased in 1966 by American actor Marlon Brando following the shooting of Mutiny on the Bounty. After falling in love with this land at the end of the world, he decided to devote the rest of his life to it. Like Marlon Brando, we would gladly take an atoll as our kingdom. Here, there are no schedules or the slightest obligations. The choice is yours: idleness, endless daydreaming, the lagoon with its crystal- clear waters playing with the whole palette of blues and greens, the birds drunk on space, the fish, from the blotch-eye soldierfish to the stingray gliding past like a silk scarf, not to mention the turtles of Tetiaroa, a treasure. Most residents speak of revelation. Some mention the energy of the earth; others, the lights of the sky or the harmonies of nature. At the very least, the ocean, Tetiaroa, and its mystery shake up everyone’s limits and open the mind to a thousand never-explored lands become initiatory.
the voyageur address : the brando
Tetiaroa, the “far-off” atoll from Mutiny on the Bounty in 1962. Marlon Brando, its iconic actor, would never forget this coral reef after visiting Polynesia, and he returned a few years later to acquire his motu. Since the ecological cause was his other main quest, this project has come to be anchored in an innovative approach to the island hotel industry. Indeed, the generator is powered by coconut oil produced on-site complemented by a few solar panels, while the air conditioning relies on seawater drawn from the depths of the Pacific.