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.

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