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 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.