Realizations on a phoneless day

“Phoneless hours” would be more accurate. But since that’s also true for every time we sleep, the duck and I decided on a more dramatic title because, let’s face it, writing about how we went out without a phone once is a bit overdramatic, anyway. Some people and ducks unplug for days! We just went to a place with super strict security, which meant that we had to leave a majority of the things that we usually carry around with us at home, including our phone. Still, venturing out without a phone did make us think about how reliant on it we have become throughout the years. See, the duck and I pride ourselves on not being regular “phone people;” we hate writing messages on our phone and aren’t that big on social media, either (I wouldn’t consider this blog “social media”). We do, however, use our phone to study and listen to podcasts a lot. And that was the first thing we noticed when we mentally prepared for traveling sans phone: We wouldn’t be able to access our usual means of travel phone duckIt seems that we are phone people after all…:

What we learned traveling without a phone

#1 We should read more
Before the duck and I had a smartphone and spent our commutes studying or listening to podcasts, I would spend most of my sedentary travel time reading. There were periods when I’d read a book a week (which, these days, is unimaginable). When we decided to pack a book of short stories for our trip, the duck and I didn’t expect to finish several of them during the time we sat on the bus or waited. I had forgotten how great it is to have a book with me wherever I go.

#2 It doesn’t hurt to plan ahead (and being able to read maps helps, too)!
I have mentioned before that I have a terrible sense of direction (and the duck insists that helping me would be unfair). Because of that, I usually research the route to a place I have never been to beforehand. I like to take virtual walks in street view if I am worried that I will get lost, but I also know that I can rely on my phone (you hear that, duck?!) if I do. This time, I had to try extra hard to memorize the bus connection times and the walking directions. That made me remember a time when I walked everywhere; I always had a miniature street map with me to help me navigate whenever I got lost.

#3 Remember that people managed to meet up even before phones existed
I noticed that my friends and I have become vague when we plan to meet up. It’s just so easy to send a quick text if you’re delayed or decide to spend your waiting time running some spontaneous errands. (I think that’s another reason I used to always have a book on me: reading makes waiting more enjoyable.) It would be nice if we could all go back to making more definite plans one day, but for now, the duck and I know that the chances of us actually meeting a friend are pretty slim without a phone. We are too used to exchanging descriptions of our surroundings when it turns out we are waiting at different spots again. Moreover, I hardly know any cell phone numbers by heart anymore, so asking a stranger to make a quick call on their phone isn’t even an option.

#4 Carry enough change
Nowadays, many public transport providers offer digital tickets that you can purchase through an app on your phone. In fact, at the beginning of the pandemic, this was the only way the duck and I could buy our single trip or day tickets whenever we didn’t have a seasonal pass because physical contact with the driver was prohibited, and there wasn’t a ticket machine at our bus stop. If there are no exceptional circumstances, however, it doesn’t hurt to have some change on you for buying tickets (on buses that don’t accept cards) or for using coin-operated phones (if you can find any) after nobody wanted to let you use their phone to call this one person whose phone number you do remember.

#5 It’s good to be self-sufficient
I’ve started listening to The Walk on my fake runs. The story begins with an EMP blast rendering all kinds of devices, including cell phones, useless. I doubt anything like this will ever happen to the duck and me. It is, however, not unlikely that we will lose or break our phone when we’re out at some point, which is why it’s good to occasionally recall how to navigate the world without one.

What about you? Are you as useless without your phone as we are?

5 thoughts on “Realizations on a phoneless day

  1. Nope, Not Pam says:

    I’m old enough to remember the time before mobile phones. 😊. I once had a flat tyre in the country, figured out how to change it and did get home, only to be blasted by my husband as I was two hours late and he’d been worried.


    • Oh no! I don’t think I would have been able to figure out how to change a tire without a phone to begin with. Not being able to call about being late must have been stressful for the both of you. I’m glad you made it home okay in the end!

      Liked by 1 person

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