As a society, we’re hooked on the internet. In just 23 years, it’s gone from something that we logged onto for 15 minutes a day to check emails to a ubiquitous tool connecting every aspect of our lives. If the internet were to shut down tomorrow somehow magically, the result would be utter chaos, and a sudden reversal to reliance on previous technologies, like the telephone. It would be chaos.
But do we want the internet to be everywhere? For some, the internet has become a kind of unpleasant master – an ever-present companion that, no matter what, is always with us. Although it’s extremely helpful to know where you’re going or what’s on your Google calendar, it’s not particularly life-affirming to see constant updates on social media or horrible catastrophes in the news.
Travellers, in particular, sometimes just want to get away from it all, and that means going somewhere that the internet isn’t. Now that you can get money back on unused data, there’s every reason to seek out these locations.
But where can you go?
It’s worth pointing out that the majority of places that don’t have universal internet access are quite dangerous. Burkina Faso, a former colony on the West Coast of Africa, doesn’t have internet in the hinterland, but it also doesn’t have a functioning government. The country has been torn up by civil strife over the last decade, and most Western authorities recommend against going there on vacation.
What about somewhere like Madagascar? The island just off the coast of Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world, home to unspoilt rainforests and incredibly rare species. It has limited internet access, especially outside of the main towns, allowing you to go on tours of the wilderness utterly unconnected from the modern world.
Namibia is without internet too, especially in the desert regions. It’s also a great place to take some photographs, thanks to the uniquely yellow sand and unusual dune formations.
Outside of Africa, the internet situation is much improved, but you can still find pockets in some of the least accessible nations. Nepal, the Himalayan state, has poor internet access. Most travellers here use satellite telephones to stay in communication because of the sheer inhospitality of the terrain. Mountains rise like great shards, preventing masts from sending signals over a wide region.
Mongolia is another famously unconnected region. The central city of Ulaanbaatar is the principal settled place. The rest of the country comprises vast steppes which go on for hundreds of miles, tended only by travelling nomads. Of all the places in the world to escape the modern way of life, Mongolia is arguably the best, being relatively safe but also a long, long way from any technological infrastructure.
So there you have it: there are still places in the world where there is no internet access. They’re rare, to be sure, but they could form a new kind of tourism in the future as internet access becomes almost ubiquitous. Would you travel to one of these far-flung places?
*This post was brought to you from a collaborative partnership with Fat Jo.