Spend 10 Days Herding Reindeer Across the Siberian Tundra
While “digital detox” retreats have become fairly common in the travel sphere (it’s an estimated $440 billion industry), it can still feel impossible to go completely off the grid.
But travelers who want to escape the hyper-connectivity of their daily lives can take their digital detoxes to the extreme with a 10-day trek with reindeer herders across the Siberian tundra.
Adventure writer Aaron Gulley wrote about his experience traveling with the nomadic Nenet reindeer herders for the December issue of Outside magazine.
Through a British tour company called Secret Compass, Gulley spent 10 days in the tundra accompanying a group, known as Brigade 20, as they moved their reindeer across the Gulf of Ob.
The adventure is not for the faint of heart: “During our first night on the tundra, as we headed into the bleak wilderness with the temperature plummeting below zero, I realized that without the Nenets’ guidance, we’d likely freeze to death within hours,” Gulley wrote.
Travelers on the expedition sleep with the tribe in chums, tents stitched from up to 120 reindeer pelts and “draped over a frame of pine logs,” according to Gulley. The group partakes in daily activities with the nomadic tribe, including chopping wood, fetching ice and packing sledges.
“Teammates,” (as Secret Compass calls its customers) will embed in daily Nenet life, including eating fresh reindeer meat — an off-putting experience for some, Gulley said — and joining in vodka toasts at the end of a day of migration. The 10-day trip is available from Secret Compass for $4,646.
While it's neither cheap nor easy, it's the ultimate trip for travelers who really want to get away from it all.