traveling without t9

I’ve been thinking about cell phones a lot lately as I’m confronted with the choice to choose a cellular companion for my time abroad. To me, when it comes to choosing the right phone, the choice has to be about more than what’s trending or savvy.

When I was little, phones were mounted on walls with short, spiralling cords for standing in place while talking.

When I was a bit older, the spiralling cords got longer and stretched across the length of a single room for multi-tasking, like helping Dad cook pancakes while talking to Grandma on a Saturday morning, which was a fairly new concept for me.

When I was in Jr High, phones went cellular; they were flippy and cordless (and prone to snapping in half) for taking your conversations with you. During this phase of the phone, people got worse at standing still and moved from room to room or city to city, all while conversing via cell phone. T9 was totally rad and intriguing.

In high school, phones got real smart. The iPhone came into being. Presumably the entire world, your entire life, at your fingertips.

In thinking about my travels, I went back and forth between getting an iPhone for all of it’s convenient bells and whistles or keeping my old school phone. In the end, which is where I’m arriving now, I’ve decided on something entirely different: I’ve decided NOT to take any phone with me to Europe.

“Foolish!”, you say. Well, wait a second. Trust me, I spent hours weighing the pros and cons. Initially, getting an iPhone sounded great: (insert top 100 perks of the iPhone here). But then there were the cons: taking anything worth $700 with you on an endless journey is a huge risk, roaming fees are ridiculously expensive, and it’s one more thing to keep track of. Additionally, I mostly just want something to capture pictures with.

In the end, what finally swayed my decision, was the fact that I like a good challenge for simplicity. I also think that there’s something special about having to stop and ask the locals for directions, as opposed to asking Siri. I like (and probably won’t like at times) how it forces me to to rely on others as much as I’ll have to rely on myself and how I’m assuming I’ll meet more people and collect more stories and wander more often, which means life may eventually slow down and it may become about more than getting from point A to B… and getting there quickly!!!

Choosing to leave my phone at home may become more about learning to be okay with where I’m at, like I was in the kitchen as a young girl, where the only phone in our house was mounted to a green and white flowered patch of wall paper and I talked with the phone wedged between my ear and shoulder, swaying from side to side, twirling the spirally cord around my pointer fingers until the tips turned white and then red.

So that’s that. In an era where everyone is blogging about the benefits of backpacking Europe with a smartphone and the must-have apps to go with it, I’ll blog about the benefits of life without one. How bad can it be?

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4 thoughts on “traveling without t9

  1. We had more than one phone, but you remember it however you like! **Siri** I’m interested to see how this simplified adventure goes!

  2. I remember when I went to Kathmandu, Nepal to visit our Mark … No phone was fine! It was actually nice to look forward to our every-so-often trip to the Internet cafe and hear from family! So go for it Chelsea!

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