Digital Detox Guest Author: Aaron Peart

Aaron lives and works in Whistler and is definitely not a Luddite but he is a bit concerned about our online time getting mixed up with all-important vacation time…

The Internet: our most important invention since the Industrial Revolution. The idea that we have all of humanity’s knowledge in our pocket is one that would be unfathomable to our grandparents, let alone the ability to capture a sunset and share it with thousands of people or make a high-quality movie of our children’s piano recitals.

There’s no doubt that technology has made everything closer and more convenient – but there is a dark side too. Not only can work emails follow us on vacation, we can get addicted to notifications to the point that our concentration, productivity and ability to relax and sleep are affected. There’s no need to throw your phone off of a bridge however – holidays are the perfect time to change your routine and take a digital detox.

Here are some strategies to help you spend less time scrolling, and more time strolling:

Man sitting on rock staring at mountain in Whistler
You won’t find wifi up here. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Break Your Chains

Make your phone work for you, not the other way around. Before heading off on vacation, try turning off notifications to your emails and social media. That way you can check Facebook at your convenience, not whenever it tells you that Dave sent you a funny meme (no offense to the Daves of the world). If you want to go one further, switch your phone to Airplane mode. You’ll still get all the benefits of the smartphone – camera, clock, alarm – without the constant interruptions. Want to share images of your holiday? No problem. Make a dedicated ‘upload time’ at a wi-fi friendly spot – perhaps in the peace and quiet of the library or somewhere with a coffee or cocktail in hand.

Get Your Fix

The reason we’re all seemingly addicted to ‘Likes’ is because, at a physical level, we are. Whenever someone approves of what we post, it feels good, the same way someone high fives you for an awesome joke. Dopamine is released every time that little thumbs up appears, and we always want more, meaning you may notice yourself checking your phone a little more frequently in the hours after posting a sweet Instagram pic.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get this dopamine fix without your phone. It’s called Having Fun. A bike ride around Lost Lake. A tight tree section on a pow morning. A ziplining tour around the valley in the crisp morning air. Chilled out activities can also feel amazing – drop-in yoga will get you refreshed in no time, a great start to your morning.

Woman ziplining in Whistler
A dose of fresh air will help you forget your phone. PHOTO SUPERFLY

Sleep Tight

There’s so much to do in summer here you’ll want to get a good night’s rest between each action-packed day. Sleep with their phone right beside their pillow? Whenever it goes off, it disturbs your slumber. Turning your phone to Do Not Disturb – or better yet, something called “Off” will cause you to have a better night’s rest. What’s more, the light coming from your phone can trick your body into thinking it’s still daylight, so that 20 minutes spent scrolling prior to slumber can have an adverse effect on your rest. Shut it down early, and opt for a wake-up call.

Talk to Strangers

This is my Number One Rule to Live By in Whistler. I’ve never experienced the level of friendliness in this town anywhere else in the world. Maybe it’s because we all chose to move here, so we understand why you’re here, too. And we can’t let you miss out on our favourite parts of it! Strike up a conversation with someone on the chairlift, your hotel staff, the Whistler Visitor Centre staff or that rowdy group at après, about their favourite hike / biking trail / place for dinner and you’ll start to open up this town like you’d never believe. Local tips beats online research every time.

Two women chatting at Whistler Mountain Bike Park
It’s easy to meet people doing something you love. PHOTO MIKE CRANE

Live Now, Share Later

Have you ever seen a sunset that took your breath away? But when you took a picture to show to friends, it doesn’t pack the same punch? Context is everything. In real life a sunset is the combination of sights, sounds, soft breezes, smells all rolled into one perfect moment that can’t be recorded – but can completely blow you away. Trust me when I say: you will remember that sunset. And there’s no shortage of incredible sights like that here in Whistler – the colour of Green Lake on a sunny day, the bears that inhabit the valley, the Inukshuks on mountain and off. Don’t just stop and look, slow down and let yourself experience every precious moment. Experience first, capture second.

Expert Mode: Try leaving your phone in your hotel room. Once the initial panic of “where’s my phone?!” goes away, you’ll find you’re more engaged in your day – looking at the scenery, people-watching from a patio, and it’s one less thing to lose when you’re on your bike. Arrange to meet someone for lunch at noon… and then get there at noon. Let them know that you’re going off the grid, and chances are they won’t be late.

For a fun day’s activity, buy a couple of disposable cameras – remember the ones with film? Not only will the kids love it, but the 24 frames of film limit means you’ll be more mindful of what you’re taking pictures of (and you can always develop to digital later). Not to mention the built-in nostalgia factor – no filter required.

Friends hiking in the Whistler alpine
Snap now, share later. PHOTO JUSTA JESKOVA

When your time is limited here in Whistler, you want to live it to the fullest. You’re going to want stories as well as photos when your friends ask how your trip was. Untethering yourself from the World Wide Web may seem like you’re taking yourself off of life support, but once you break free, you’ll discover that life can’t be shared without living it first.

Get more information on summer in Whistler from

Whistler Village is the perfect launching pad for all of your summer adventures and post-adventure celebrations. Look at all those new friends!


Along with our regular Insiders, we have a host of local and visiting authors keen to share their stories. Most of them don't actually look like bears, but they are just as lovable.