No Phone, No Hope | The Inconveniences of Losing a Phone While Abroad

TIA HERE with the grandest and most tragic of first world problems—the lost (or should I say stolen) phone. When it comes to smartphones, losing a cell means losing an alarm clock, all your music, games to pass the time, and a camera, in addition to losing the ability to contact people through Facebook, texting, calling, tweeting, tumbling, and whatever else you use. If you have an iPhone like I did (my dad's, as we traded phones before I left for Denmark), you can still count on backups or iCloud to save the majority of your stuff, but having no hardware to carry all of these tools that you don't realize you use a thousand times a day feels a lot like missing a third arm (one you didn't even know you had). Here is the layout of my immediate, phone-less breakdown, as one of those people who is constantly on their phone:
  1. I have to wake up at 6 a.m. Better set my alarm! Impossible. In the age of smartphones, a clock—let alone an alarm clock—just seems excessive. I haven't owned a clock or watch for years and not having a phone means floating outside the confines of time. Sound exciting? Wrong. I sure hope I'll make my flight, because I might not wake up in time! Awesome.
  2. If I get lost, I can just look up the location. What are paper maps? What is asking a stranger? Too much confusion and work is what. If I want to maximize efficiency, it is by far easier and more reliable to just type in the address and watch my phone paint a blue path to my destination. Plus, in a foreign country, the number of times I've understood the directions of a stranger on the street is 0. I think I understand, but I never find my way there. The only time it worked out? When they printed out a google map search. Of course.
  3. Ooh! Let me take a picture of this! Oh wait. I can't. Because I don't carry my SLR around everywhere like a tourist to everyday life. My desperation to document everything is now being swept away by the realization that the event that's currently occurring is one I will almost certainly forget someday and never see a single visual reminder of. Live in the moment? Try to remember without having to tweet or photograph every moment? Sure, that sounds great. Because I totally have an endless memory bank that will retain all the funny little things in life that I like to look back on, rather than focus on things that are significantly more important to me that a picture can't capture. Let me just reorganize my brain, right? As a perfectionist and completionist, I don't want any moment to be lost because that just feels unproductive. Talk about stress city.
  4. My Clash of Clans clan is probably in shambles. Don't pretend you haven't played CoC or seen an ad for it. That game is everywhere, and as a clan leader I feel only great sadness that my clan will never know what happened to me for the next month. I hope their loyalty exceeds their confusion, but who really knows. They may all be gone by the time I get my phone from home back. I'll miss you, clan. I'll never forget you. Well, probably not, at least for a few months.
  5. Let me check all of my many different email accounts all at one time. Nope. I have to sign into each one individually, signing out and back in, just to see everything I get. I have like 11 email accounts. So that's cool. Fortunately, the mail app on my macbook is no longer buggy, so I can check them there. God bless Apple, right? Still, not having my email in my pocket is definitely going to pose a big problem as I often get emails that need to be responded to immediately. Guess I have to bring my computer everywhere. Fantastic. I'm looking forward to my damaged back in the years to come.
  6. Maybe I'll work on something or play a game in this awkward gap of time. Now my short, spare moments of having nothing to do/waiting/riding the train/eating/etc. will be spent with me staring unproductively at the wall. No visual stimulation, nothing to toy with with my anxious hands, nothing to do. I'm not the kind of person who can zone out and be satisfied. My brain needs constant movement, constant chaos, or I am overcome with a powerful anxiety that I'm wasting time. Guess I'm going to have to start lugging around books everywhere I go. If only I had a purse that could fit a book. If I have to spend another awkward moment stuck in my head, I'll go mad. Give me any distraction—I need it.
  7. I can listen to the new Taylor Swift CD on the plane and walking to class! Not quite. In fact, the only time I'll be able to listen to music is when my computer is slung under my arm like an awkwardly flat boom box. In a technology-driven world where everything is moving at a hundred miles per hour, I'm guaranteed to be left in the dust. Even the casual listeners will know all the lyrics to Tay's songs before I do. And that is a brutal injury.
  8. [EDIT: I almost forgot this one.] I need to check my teeth or how my hair looks. Better pull out my phone/mirror! Nice try. I'll have to stare awkwardly into the metro glass in hopes of checking myself out (which, as a self-obsessed millennial, I must do constantly), because I don't carry a mirror anymore and having no phone, front-facing camera means never knowing what terrible things are slathered all across my face. Sweet!
There are probably many more little complaints that can come out of not having a smartphone around, all just as overdramatic as the last, but at the end of the day, I know I'll be fine. Not having a phone means giving your brain a massive break. I doubt this unexpected experience will be more damaging to me than peaceful, as much as I'll spend every spare moment feeling like the biggest slacker and most disconnected person in the world. I love my phone and the things it gives me, but I can live a perfectly good life without it.

Does that mean I won't cry with relief when I get my iPhone back in December? No, I will definitely be enormously relieved and shed a loving tear or two. But, for now, I'm good. If you've lost your smartphone and are as internet-obsessed as I am, my message to you is this: get your anger out in a rant-y blog post and get over it. You'll survive. (Millennial struggles, amirite?) Hopefully this system works and I'm onto step two—post-phone-loss recovery. I'm just glad that this is my biggest problem right now, and is something that can be thought of as a potentially beneficial experience. At the worst, I'm a little disappointed and a little frustrated, but I'm healthy, happy, and abroad, so there are no legitimate complaints.

I'll see you guys in the next post (probably next Monday, but possibly earlier)! Follow the twitter to keep updated.

For more, check out Tia's new blog!

Much love,

T.