Escape Digital Distraction at Better Off

The Providence retreat encourages old-school creativity.

Better Off is a retreat where typewriters and Polaroid cameras are more than just relics. Visit the modern-rustic storefront on Broadway and you will first lock your cell phone in a vintage post-office box before grabbing a technology from the past to get your creative juices flowing.

Devan Durante and Brandon Lane are the brains behind Better Off, with the ambitious goal of providing a space that allows for an escape from our digitally saturated world.
“Digital devices are built for the consumption of information. Because of that, there's digital anxiety and overload,” Lane says. “It’s like ‘I’m so set on consuming that I forget I’m a creative being.’ What we try to do here is uncover that balance.”

Programs like the Creative Gym promote a pause from technology and provide the tools for imaginative ways to use your free time.

“We talk in the space, do some exercises to get you connected hand to mind, design [take-home experiences] for once you leave, and then we come back and start by talking through that,” Lane says.

Better Off provides the counterweight to nine-to-five days of being plugged in, logged on and powered up. “Here in an urban environment, where non-digital spaces are increasingly rare and almost extinct, we’re forcing the issue to say here can be a haven,” he says. 168 Broadway, Providence, 601-1293,