After being in Punta Cana for my first “real” college spring break, I’ve learned a lot. One thing is that girls really do take their bikini tops off without any incentive. Another thing was that life goes on without being in constant contact with the world through your cell phone.
As per usual for me, I lost my phone within two days of the break. Normally when I lose my phone at school, I have a short mental breakdown, immediately call Verizon, and have a shiny new Blackberry in hand by the next day. Yes – I know – it sounds completely pathetic when I write it out, but it’s true. Although I didn’t think I was addicted to my phone (which has my e-mail, texting, and BBM as well as applications for Facebook, and Twitter), after losing my phone in a foreign country, I realized I have been.
The only difference in my initial mental breakdown this time was that it was in a foreign country and I had no access to ordering or receiving a new phone. Instead, I bought myself a small, black-and-white phone with a few pre-paid minutes and was forced out of the loop and into the real world, where conversations happen face-to-face with no interruption of, “Hold on, I have to answer this.”
At first I felt completely naked, like one of my body parts was missing. But then, I began to feel relieved.
This technology vacation truly made me, as well as my friends (who, although slightly more connected than I, were still technologically-deprived) realize how hard it is to be fully present in your daily life when your cell phone is always in hand, beeping and buzzing. Knowing I had no access to my phone, I wasn’t worried if I was missing an “important” text, or if I had gotten an e-mail from a teacher. All that mattered was that if God-forbid I was alone, I had my emergency contacts. Besides that, I focused on soaking up the sun, laughing with my friends, and completely enjoying every moment of my trip (besides the food that is).
When I do get my phone back this week, I’m planning on taking my use of it down a notch. I’m vowing not to have it in my hand all night and not to continuously sneak peeks at the red LED light during class, anticipating a text or Facebook comment. Even today in my normally boring class that used to “require” me constantly texting to stay awake, I was forced to listen and even participate! It’s a whole new world, my friends.
I’d recommend that everyone try taking vacations from technology every now and then – it reminds you of how great experiencing life hands-on can be.