I am just back from a holiday and currently flaunting a tan (I wanted it) and tan lines (I didn’t want them). I got tan lines because apparently wandering about topless on a cruise is frowned upon. Meh, prudes. I went on a cruise for the first time in my life and it was an experience that was equal parts exhilarating and disconcerting. Most of the anxiety and the excitement stemmed from the fact that my phone would have no network, a phenomenon I have not experienced since perhaps 2012. I am talking whole days without nary the suggestion of a network. Sure I have taken flights and endured some slowly moving hours, but like almost a week? The horror.
See, that’s what I thought too. Thoughts about what I was to do with my time without the crutch of Instagram’s scrolling, about how to deal with all the extra hours I would have when I wasn’t mindlessly watching cat videos made rounds in my head like a forgotten bag on a luggage carousel. But over the course of the week, I discovered interesting uses for my phone because without a signal, this object that I otherwise hold too close to my heart, was rendered pointless. A paperweight, if you will.
So here’s what I discovered about being without network for a whole week did for me. It’s pretty potent stuff right here.
I Could Have Uninterrupted Conversations
I went on this cruise with my husband and a couple of friends and with the no niggling phone interruptions, conversations flowed easily, unhindered by the pinging of a notification. We chatted for hours on end and lulls in the conversation didn’t have us immediately picking up the phone. Instead, there were comfortable silences and moments of just being present. In the moment, with each other. It was eye opening.
The Time I Saved!
Perhaps one of my most telling realisations on this trip was about how much time I spend on my phone. Way too much, if anyone is asking. I am constantly switching between apps, looking for my next source of entertainment. It’s appalling but it took me zero network days to realise just how much more time I would have on my hands if I wasn’t eagerly tapping away on everyone’s insta stories. If you do think your time is precious, a data detox does you a world of good.
There Wasn’t Any FOMO
We’ve been peddled the idea that if you’re not keeping up, you’re missing out. It’s a construct. There’s no missing out if you’re not tuned in. So you miss a couple of updates about someone going on vacation or hitting a milestone moment. Does it turn your world upside down? Nope. Maybe that I was on vacation knocking back mimosas like they were going out of fashion had something to do with it but I didn’t feel like I was missing out at all.
Books And Fresh Air Are Better For Me
My shoulders heaved a sigh of relief. My lungs expressed deep gratitude and my fingers finally enjoyed some down time. Being on the sea, away from the chaos of city life was a gratifying experience. I took my books along and read for hours on end, curled up on a lounger without a worry in the world. The fresh air, the vistas of the sea stretching into miles all had me feeling re-centred in a way I haven’t experienced before. If I needed to know that I have to get away more often, this was my sign.
The Phone Was Abandoned
With no network, my phone was not useful to me and so it was relegated to the corner of the room. I would occasionally glance at it, but I didn’t feel the need to carry it around and have it on my person. Sure, I didn’t nearly take as many pictures as I would have liked to but not being worried about where my phone was strangely liberating. For an object that I am this attached to, being able to roam around without engaging in a quick pocket pat to check it was still there was so much fun. I would recommend this to everyone.
On this cruise, I also wandered around the deck with the pool having finally acquired swimsuit for myself. But for fuller bust women, swimsuits are incredibly difficult to find in India. Read about it here.