Living Abroad Without a Phone

14795942_1841662176070085_1593961791_o(Photo credit haytheghost)

About two and a half weeks ago my phone screen shattered. No, I do not have an iPhone (reasons I don’t own an iPhone). This was my two year old Sony I dropped for the millionth time but this time it decided to shatter. I finally found a repair place last Monday and now i’m just waiting. Beyond the loss of a map, notepad, alarm clock, calculator, translator, or social media, I was devastated at the loss of my camera. In fact, I did not see my broken phone as a problem until I realized that it meant I was without a camera. I had no way to document my new adventures in, and outside of Prague. More importantly, I had no way to flex my creative skills. I didn’t understand my love for photography until my phone broke. In the past I used family cameras and I once had my own digital camera. I took a class in middle school. But I always thought it was just another random artist hobby of mine. Tomorrow I’m going to buy a cheap Nikon because I can’t go another day without a camera. When I return to the states I might even play with film because that sounds like something I could devote my free time to and cultivate a skill with.

Besides the camera I’m buying tomorrow, I went to the stores a few days after the accident and bought a notepad, pencil, and watch. These are the basics I need to get by. I write down directions before I leave the house (does anyone else remember the days of printing off directions from MapQuest?) and if I get lost I just figure it out or stay lost. I could also practice my Czech and ask for directions but I don’t even like doing that in English (it’s a pride thing I’m working on). I also take notes on what I’m spending for the times I don’t get a receipt, which is often (Prague is a cash-reliant city). I write down funny things my friends say or recommendations for restaurants. I also write down new Czech words I might need to say to someone like the word for camera case (pouzdro). These are all things I did before on my phone but now I’m completely comfortable doing on a paper notepad.

The upsides to not having a phone? I pay more attention to the world around me. I am less nervous and I can stand waiting for the metro and just stand there. However, I have turned into that person who checks their watch often which I’m trying to stop doing. I also appreciate things alone and in the moment. I don’t need to share everything constantly (although when I get home I’m on Facebook, etc. a lot). My social life has not suffered because I make appointments to hang out or do things with people. Do I want to continue without a phone when it’s fixed? No. But my phone here already lacks data so I am limited to areas with wifi or non-data apps like the translator. From now on I will always be more confident with my decisions. Left or right? Does that look like cake flour or bread flour? What’s that price in dollars? Let’s try it and find out. I don’t want to use a phone as a crutch for my insecurities. You shouldn’t either.

Find me on Instagram: crazyloverblue

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Blogs I Read and Articles to Get You Started

Right now I only really read two blogs and frequent one website (beyond pinterest, school sites, netflix, and instagram). Each one gives me advice in one form or another on how to best live my life. I like that. The first is the website and it’s mostly interior design/decorating and gardening. It’s a good launching point for other things around the web as well. The second is a simple living blog that I try to read every day because it makes me happy and feel like i’m doing the right thing by living simply. The last is a more minimalist approach to the simple living movement. It’s refreshing. For all three,I gave you a jumping off point so you don’t get stuck on the homepage (or the About Me) section. They are:
Apartment Therapy
So I can drool over the best homes (and pin for future reference). But also so I can learn to take care of my rental space and decorate it. Hit and miss on the advice but the pictures are always beautiful. Instead of one article, since it is a website and not a blog, I’ll start you off with a useful section for those in college or living in a small space.
Slow Your Home
The author is a ‘mum’ and from another country Australia ( uses kilometers and other foreign measurements). But her advice is across the board applicable to most people’s lives. A good post to start with is a part of a series on living simple A-Z (living simple blog): Let’s start with Y.

Zen Habits

Exactly what it sounds like, with a minimalist style. Just one post on each page, I like to read this blog, take in the one article, and move on with my day. Great with your morning coffee (if you’re into that sort of thing). How to Breathe.

Removing Facebook: An Experiment in Socializing

Let me start by saying I don’t get out much and when I do, it’s often with my boyfriend which can create a bubble between me us and the outside world. When I walk to school, I don’t talk to anyone: 15-20 minutes of silence. That’s crazy. I could be spending that time chatting with a friend, if I had a friend to walk with. I wrote before about my dying social skills and my goals for the rest of college (new college). I also updated you on some progress I made. Now I’m ready to take things a step further: I’m getting off Facebook.

The experiment: I will stay off Facebook for a full month to see if/how it affects my social life. I am allowed to use FB Messenger (a few of my friends prefer it’s free services to texting). I also wrote a post of my departure: today is my last day. (The experiment will last from January 25th to February 25th, unless otherwise noted in the future.)

But WHY?! Part of that explanation is in my first post on this subject. In short, I want friends. I want more friends, closer friends, study buddies, and local friends. Recently, I tried to simply stay off the FB app on my phone. I was inspired by a post on FB by a friend who was vowing to uninstall the app and only use the messenger. So I took the app off my home screen. In the beginning I definitely kept off FB more than before, considering most of my use of the site is on my phone. But I was not dedicated and it didn’t work long-term. The app is still off my home screen, but I find myself opening it all the time from the apps menu. It’s ridiculous. I have now spent more of my free time scrolling and re-scrolling through my FB feed than I have reading or working on homework on most days. So it’s a time waster and way to procrastinate. However, my bigger issue is my friends. I know what you’re thinking, “How can your friends be the issue if you want more/closer friends?” Well, I am from Washington (state) but currently live in Portland (<3). The majority of my friends live in Washington and if we were just beginning to get close when I lived there, they are now loose ties. If we were best friends before, now they are just friends. No one visits, and I only see a handful when I visit home my parents. My local friends are few, and on FB most of them are people I met at a party but haven’t seen since. How can I make more local friends? Leave the Washingtonians behind! Get outside and explore the people physically around me! This is my plan.

This week I took some time to reflect on a year in my life when I was really happy and content. I was more outgoing, relatively healthy, and felt like I was on top of the world . So I asked myself: “What contributed to that?” Well I was still in K-12 so let’s start with everything right with school. In 6ish hours a day, I figure I managed to spend around 3 of those talking with my friends. I had a range of creative hobbies I got to practice through elective classes (and after school). I played sports and bonded with more people through them. I did spend a good amount of time on the internet or watching movies when I got home. That’s okay. I still spent 3+ hours a day socializing, face-to-face with real people. I had parties at my house a couple times a year (small,intimate ones) and I was doing a lot of stuff. That is something I want to recreate in college.

Now this not a scientific experiment. And I’m not suggesting this will work for anyone else (if it works). This is specific to my situation. Also I will not simply get off FB and sit around the house. I will couple it with consciously pushing myself to get outside and explore things around town (something I already wish I did more of). I may or may not strike up conversations with people. I am hoping by removing FB from my daily activities, and getting outside, I will become more comfortable around people and they will approach me or I will be more outgoing. I am pretty much broke, so anything I do out of the house will be cheap or free. Not everything will be “social” activities, e.g. job hunting. But I am excited to see the results, if any, and keep you updated through this blog.

Has anyone else done this? Did you go all out and *gasp* DELETE your Facebook account? Does anyone think this is crazy? Share your opinions below!