Life without a phone

I met one of my good friends a couple of weeks ago and while we were browsing through different shops she was like “You know what you should do? You should write about how having no phone has been affecting your life“. So here I am, writing exactly that.

Let me explain – having no mobile was not my own choice (as one might imagine) though I commend people for actually doing “phone detoxes” every once in a while. Four to five years ago, my phone fell out of my back pocket and into the toilet – since then it’s like I’m cursed with bad luck when it comes to my mobile phone.

First and foremost, let me clarify that this will most certainly be a post that discusses a first world problem, not having a phone isn’t the end of the world. It did take a little adjustment though and I noticed some interesting things about my phone habits that I felt like I wanted to share.


1. trying to meet up with people “the old-fashioned way”

…is difficult. I’m not saying it’s impossible because I’ve managed to do this in the weeks without any way of mobile communication but my god, how much planning it takes. And no, I don’t mean the fun “what do you want to do? where do you want to eat?” planning. First of all – if one of you is late then the other person has no way of knowing that. This happened to me with a friend (who is always late, so I kind of was expecting it – I love her to death anyway) but still, you get worried standing at the same spot for twenty minutes, desperately trying to make out your friend in the crowd.

I started thinking about all of the possible things that could have happened; maybe her transportation was just off schedule, maybe she missed her stop, maybe she missed her bus all together, maybe there was an emergency and she wouldn’t show up at all, maybe she got kidnapped on the way to our meeting spot, maybe someone murdered her, maybe……. okay, you get the idea. My point is, there is absolutely no time for spontaneous changes in your plan.

I have never been so specific in my life when comes to arranging places to meet. I would literally pick places I knew well and could describe in the umtost detail. This was me every single time: “In front of the mall, on the right hand side of the blue signs, 10 metres next to shop A, opposite shop B, right by the newspaper stand of an old guy with a beard

2. using your phone to pass the time

Whilst I was waiting for my friend, uselessly standing around and watching, well, the people around me, I noticed that the majority of people were on their phones – no big surprise. But when I turned to look at the people waiting beside me, 100% of them were all on their mobile devices. If the person they were waiting for were to walk past them, they wouldn’t have even noticed – that is, if their friend hadn’t texted them “I’m here” or “I see you”.  Standing there amongst people, all staring down at their devices, I found myself feeling strangely out of place. I didn’t know how to act, where to look, what to do in the mean time.

The same went for any other instance where I had a little time. I always carry a book with me and boy, it really came in handy (more so than ever). I felt like I had something to do with all of my free time which is why I read a ton of books in the period of having no phone (click here to see everything I read!)

3. I rely on Google Maps…. a lot

Oh man, it’s hard without a navigation system and and only with an orientational genius like myself (haha). Maps…like the real physical kind…what even are they?! It was so hard finding my way from point A to B at first but then it became a sort of game in my mind that I actually quite enjoyed. I aimlessly wandered around the city all the time and it actually helped me improve my knowledge of streets and other places quite a bit.

4. Facebook was my only source of digital connection

…so I used it a lot at first. I chatted with my friends on the daily while I was home and for a while, it almost felt normal. After a while my Facebook use just went down and down – until I found myself forgetting to check my messages for a large chunk of the day. Sometimes I wouldn’t even check at all. The reason for this is still not exactly clear to me, I think it was a mixture of being fed up with Facebook all together (ugh) and just getting used to talking to my friends when I saw them.

Who knew how exciting it was to meet up with your friend after some time bursting at the seams with updates on my life, questions and just thoughts in general? I mean, obviously I had felt that before, it was just always a little more muted because when you’re snapchatting and texting and keeping up with your friend’s lives on social media, your friend already kind of has an idea of what’s going on in your life. Don’t get me wrong, I love being able to check in with friends during the day and always knowing that if something happens, they’re just a call or text away. But still – it’s different, in a good way.

What I’m trying to say is that having some time apart to miss each other is good for a relationship/friendship, beneficial even (and yes, “having time apart” also means time apart on all of the socials). Same goes for not being up-to-date on each other’s lives 24/7.

5. I started noticing things

What I mean by this is that I was forced to look up from that screen in my hands (because it didn’t exist anymore lol) and I actually started to witness moments. Random acts of kindness by strangers, just things that were beautiful. Which is exactly why I started to take more photos again. I had my eyes open at all times and in return I got to work on a hobby of mine and improve on my skills.


Lessons learned

What I learnt is that not having a phone for a while isn’t that bad. In fact, it benefitted me in a lot of ways. According to a study published on statista.com, global internet users spent an average of 135 minutes on social media a day in 2017. I’m the first person to admit that I easily spend that much time on social media, I mean WordPress is considered a social platform. I have no intention of cutting back on blog posts because I get something from it. I get a community, I get different opinions, I get satisfaction from sharing my thoughts and feelings.

But what do I get from mindlessly scrolling through people’s feeds, feeds I’m not even paying attention to properly, feeds I’m going to forget about the next day anyway?

The answer is; nothing. Nothing worth my time anyway. And that’s why having no phone during the summer holidays was one of the best things that could have happened to me.

30 thoughts on “Life without a phone

  1. I completely relate to this post! I’ve been working on using my phone less and I always make sure I have a book or two in my bag instead and it’s been really interesting. I love the poignant way you described this platform aha it definitely feels that way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad to hear that! Books are such a great alternative to staring at your phone all the time and I feel like you get a lot more from them, they have definitely helped improve my writing over the years. And if I’m in public spaces while reading, sometimes someone will come up to me and start chatting to me about the book or the author – I’ve had some great conversations I’d never have had otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness I’m having flashbacks. A couple years ago I had my phone taken away by my parents as a punishment, and my dad hid it so well he forgot where it was, and I went 7 MONTHS without having a phone until I could find it again. 100% agree on literally everything you said, especially navigation! This was a super interesting post, good on your friend for the idea! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Loved this post! I completely agree social media is great and I’m guilty of mindlessly scrolling but you actually have to be social on it otherwise you actually accomplishing nothing. I remember not having a phone when I was like 14 for around a year and meeting up was so much more stressful so I can relate to that for sure. Phones are great and useful just not so great when they suck all your attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so happy you did! I agree, phones are so helpful and practical nowadays, I’m pretty sure they are on their way of replacing standard laptops and cameras. But they can be one hell of an addiction too and sadly, a lot of people aren’t even aware of how much time they actually spend on their devices. Like you wrote, they have a way of sucking you in.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Okay. I was not ready for this. This is really good! The map thing and using your phone to pass time is totally relatable. I went unplugged once and these were the hardest ones to give up. But since reading this post, I actually want to go unplugged again! Loveeeeeee this! xx
    -L

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow, you’re really good at living without phones.I once broke my phone, and until I got a new one, I literally used my ipad for everything.just couldn’t live without a phone.It made me realize how dependent I am on it.this gave me some ideas!great post xx

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ah man, this is making me fondly remember the time before all my big exams, where I would willingly give up my phone for months to get rid of wOrLdLy distractions (I don’t know why I wrote it like that).

    It is actually really peaceful, and while everyday tasks can be a little bit harder, I think it’s definitely worth it. Feels healthier, definitely.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Felt like I needed to read this today (your posts always come at exactly the right time). I leave my phone a lot these days, I’ll go places and leave it at home or I’ll simply just set it down somewhere and not feel the urge to check it, I kind of like living in my own little bubble so not checking my phone and therefore not being connected to the online world is just another way I can do this, as I’ve grown older I’ve realised I really don’t care for the whole thing. I always think I was born in the wrong era, you know? I appreciate the older times much more than I do the present day, I think I would’ve been a lot more comfortable back then because everything would have automatically felt more ‘real’. Hope that makes sense xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad that you could relate to this post! Same, sometimes it’s so freeing to be off the grid for a while. And I feel you, sometimes I think that too – a time without social media sometimes sounds like something the world needs. But at the same time, I feel like it also has a lot of benefits and positive impacts on people’s lives, so I wouldn’t change anything. xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I absolutely agree that people should go on social media detoxes because we are all so addicted to our phones and don’t realise how much we use it until we are gone. I like to have 24 hour social media detoxes from time to time, just to remind myself that there is more to life than social media. I commend you on being able to function without a phone because I think I would literally fall apart – no google maps to direct me, no distractions whilst I am sitting on the train, no small camera that can fit in my pocket. Are you planning on buying a new phone anytime soon? xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so cool that you do that, I admire you for it! I think a lot of people should take that as an example and try it in their own lives. Why thank you – I guess you just get used to it once you’ve been without it for a while. I already have one again, I didn’t really feel comfortable doing a semester abroad in a foreign country without a phone but I still try to limit my time online! That experience this summer definitely taught me that I need to be more conscious of how much time I actually spend on my phone. xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Same, talking to someone, preferably face to face but via the phone is also a good alternative if you live further apart, is just so much better than sending each other memes or chatting on social media. Just hearing my friends voices is so much better and makes it much more meaningful.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This is such a wonderful post. I also dropped my phone down a toilet so I guess we’re cursed together. Since getting to uni I’ve used my phone way less, just because there’s so much going on and it’s been really nice to notice everything that’s going on in the world. I think we could all benefit from less phone time! This is a wonderful post lovely xx
    Alys

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my fellow cursed sister😂 I feel like uni is much more fun if you know when to put your phone down and be present in the moment. Sometimes it’s also just nice to have a break from the virtual world for a while. Thanks again Alys xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think I could live without my phone especially when I’m commuting to work but I definitely didn’t need to check my phone consistently when I’m at home so I’m going to try this in the weekend. Wish me luck x

    Let me break free from my phone addiction lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish you the best of luck, you can do this!! I think it’s just a matter of routine – if you use your phone less and less over time I doubt you’ll have the need to check it all the time after a while.

      Break free you shall!

      Liked by 1 person

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