Since I touched down in Montenegro nearly three months ago, I haven’t traveled by plane anywhere, and incremental travel from one place to another doesn’t give the same feeling of closure ( or opening) as a sudden relocation in a distant place. Maybe that’s why I have been feeling reflective today as I prepare to leave the ship and fly to San Diego for a visit with friends.
Among those reflections is how it has been to be phoneless for the six weeks since I left my iPhone on a train in Geneva. Honestly, I haven’t missed it that much. The main function I truly could not manage without was the clock. I hated the idea of wearing a wristwatch, so I bought a little watch with a carabiner-style clip that I attached to my bag, and problem solved.
I haven’t been able to take any photos except for a few from the veranda of my room on the ship. I learned the hard way not to carry my iPad for photos when it fell from my backpack and the screen cracked pretty badly. Fortunately it still works, but it is hard to type or get things to pull up on the touchscreen sometimes. Losing that plus my phone would have been really tough.
I quickly forgot about taking pictures, and it was quite liberating. I saw people endlessly documenting their experiences, and I thought how nice it was just to be enjoying mine. I will start taking photos again when I have a phone, but I hope I have learned a lesson from this about making sure I am not so busy creating memories that I forget to have experiences.
Sometimes I wish I had my app that tells me how many steps I took on a long day, and I am presently locked out of my bank account and a few other sites because I can’t receive either a text or a call to prove who I am. Occasionally I could have solved a problem with a phone call, but really everything can wait. So much truly can wait, or doesn’t really need to be done at all.
Most important, though, is that when I have a few minutes to spare, I don’t have a phone to pull out. As a result, I sit quietly, or walk—or maybe even talk to someone! I think, I imagine, or I just enjoy what is there, whether it is people watching, or the scenery of a place I have gone to the trouble of visiting. Much, much better than finding out what I might have missed in the last few minutes. or ignoring my surroundings in favor of a rousing game of solitaire.
My second insight relates to my evolving sense of “home.” This is my first cruise assignment since I sold my condo and began my life as a vagabond. My assignments are usually long enough to establish a sense of a home base on a ship, but there was always that other place where my stuff was, where my mail would be delivered, where my car was parked. A place where I would walk in, drop my bags and say, “ahh, it’s still here.”
I don’t have that anymore, and it does make a difference. For me, “home” is now wherever I am. I love Victoria. It is the place I choose to be when I am not somewhere else. It is enough of a home to meet my needs. I am excited to go to San Diego, but it isn’t home anymore. Right now, as I prepare to pull out my bags from under the bed and pack to leave the ship, the future is full of places I am going to, all of which I anticipate with pleasure, but none of which are ”home.”
Do I miss things about having a stable life? Yes! I miss my blender and my French press. I miss having everything where I can get to it immediately. I miss knowing the best place to buy things I want and need. I miss easier access to many longtime friends. I miss having a lot of little things be so much easier. What do I gain by going without? The world.