Going offline: the benefits of a break from the internet

Life gets simple, quickly, when you unplug the web. The best way to do it is to go off-grid, as our writer has discovered from Wales to the US
• Off-grid family holidays: Tim Dowling’s rules

On the first day we kept checking our phones, even after they had died. Maddy, who was quite young at the time, seemed to find the absence of screens inexplicable, as if she was being unfairly punished. What kind of a holiday fails to deliver the basics of human existence, like an iPad? She slept a lot. It was only on the third day that we tried the fishing rods. From the veranda of the cabin I hooked a small roach. Then we tried dropping a line from the raft and she got a catfish.

One day I got up soon after dawn and couldn’t find Maddy at all. Then I saw her, sitting out on the raft in the centre of the small lake, her back to me. She was singing to herself and fishing. Our off-grid retreat to the woods of the Dordogne was working.

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