Enquiries about the kind of activities or ‘entertainment’ one may find at our DD are, understandably, among the most common.
As mobile phones became a mass commodity by the end of the ’90, and even more so after the launch of smartphones in 2007, we started seeing more and more people locked to their screens in all transitional settings: schoolkids at bus stands, commuters on trains and tubes, even as we wait for our order at the restaurant. In general, after only a few years of widespread use, we have become accustomed to fill every gap in our doings by checking mailboxes and social accounts, watching a video or posting  ‘stuff’.

So how are the hours going to unfold at the DD, considering we’re deep in the woods with virtually no obligation? Not even a little food shopping to distract us - Panic!

No, dear, don’t panic. Actually, let’s start from here: where in the world is distraction beneficial to us? How is being constantly busy doing something truthfully useful?
I understand this may sound a little weird, but my purpose, as I arrange the setting of these retreats, is to put you in the position where you could actually choose to do nothing: enjoy the weather, feel the grass under your feet, take a bath, read a book on the hammock, talk to a friend, eat, sleep.
Maybe you’ll even decide to spend a day or two like that, and they probably will be the most powerful of your stay. Former  Google executive Mo Gawdat - now advocating a more balanced and careful relationship with technology - claims he can write a book in one week after spending a month in analog confinement. Similar examples are everywhere: all through his life, Mohandas Gandhi stuck to his arrangement of spending one day a week in solitude and silence. Would you say he wasn’t an achiever?

Hold on, that’s just an option!

One of the advantages of joining our DD retreat instead of arranging one of your own, is that you’ll be involved in a number of group activities that will help you leave all tech-related thoughts behind. I would dare to say: WE’LL HAVE A HELL OF A GOOD TIME!
Bonfires, improv comedy shows, body-painting: you name it, we’ll do it! Actually, every retreat is going to be a little different from this point of view, as with more and more of you becoming regulars, we want to give you no chance of getting bored…

WAIT! What did I just say?

Let me reframe the whole idea: you’ll have plenty of occasions to socialize and play, keep fit and learn, but please, try to find some time to get bored!
Boredom is not a bad thing. At least the kind of boredom that is about ‘empty time’, having nothing to do, or rather nothing specific, looking around in search for who-knows-what and feeling the related restlessness.
Sure it doesn’t feel very good, but surprisingly, it’s the most constructive way to spend time. It may be counter-intuitive, still, this is what the wisest among us raccomended from time immemorial, this is what modern neurology confirms and guess what, even quantum physics!

Until recently, we used to think the void was just inert, empty space where nothing happened. Not so! At a closer look (and with the help of some giant cyclotronic machinery) we see that particles appear for some millionth of a millionth of a second, and get instantly annihilated by an anti-particle. Woah, ain’t that amazing? The void is full of tiny sparkles, literally: everything, comes out of nothing.
Whether you want to take this analogy at face value or metaphorically, this is also what it feels like to confront yourself with empty spacetime in your life experience.
The Romans called this time spent in lazy contemplation ‘otium’, and it was the prerogative of poets, artists and philosophers, but also emperors and politicians. All privileged people, sure, but also people with greater responsibilities, and it’s easy to see why.
When we sustain that ‘itching’ feeling as we’re deprived of any practical task, much below the conscious level of our mind, our brain is actively connecting thoughts and perceptions, processing memories and future plans, conjuring ideas. That shimmering void at the root of consciousness is generating particles of meaning. A much useful skill when you have to make critical decisions, as we all do today. In ancient Rome, slaves and servants were not allowed to linger in otium. It was, in fact, a birthright of the free.

When I see boys and girls of the new generations so dependent on their devices, so early in life, I feel pity and fear for them. The worst thing of all, to me, is that they’re denied the experience of freedom. Until not long ago, even people who were not engaged in highly creative or prestigious jobs, and felt no need to appreciate the value of otium, found themselves naturally at it in the cracks and turns of their routines: lining at the post office, carried on a long car drive, in the uncomfortable silence of a dinner with someone you know too well.
Dodging these dead zones with the easy escape of a smartphone doesn’t just suppress your freedom, it makes you weaker. The other gift of diving in the void of non-doing, is that it builds up your patience, the most precious virtue of all. We live in the time of instant gratification. From the age when having a portrait done took hours of posing, we first stepped to photography, that only required to hold still for a click. At least though, you had to wait for the film to be developed and printed! Now that the process of capturing images is effortless and instantaneous - have you noticed? - we just as quickly forget about them.
But those who hold real power know it well: no lasting, relevant deed is accomplished without enduring the friction of time, feeling it on your skin. Time is the greatest force of the universe, and thought it sometimes seems to work against us, there is no point in trying to cheat it. We’d better learn to work together, and make friends.

With all this smart-ass talk, I really don’t want to dismiss your legitimate request to be attended in your journey through a DD weekend or week. You’re very welcome to join all group activities and socialize with the others in free time: it wouldn’t be just as fun without you!
Just bear in mind this advice: if you happen to catch a glimpse of boredom in the air, flicking its tiny wings around with the breeze, don’t let it go! Chase it! Hold on to it and put it in your pocket. Once you get back home, it won’t be just a pretty souvenir, but a memory to cherish, and an ally to rely on.