Dude where’s my phone?- Your GTG’s diagnosis of the phone to backpack epidemic

Welcome globetrotters to our last meeting of 2013! If you have been searching for a 2014 new year’s resolution then may we take this opportunity to risk a value-laden suggestion of consciously leaving your phone behind on your next trip. This week we discuss the benefits of such abstinence and the simple pleasures/skills we may have been surrendering unknowingly.


Dianetica (Photo credit: Mr Jaded)

In a recent discussion with a travel hardy friend, we came to reminisce about a time before mobile phones where travel was undergone on a far more manual basis. We also then came to the conclusion that during these times, the lack of access to a phone was one of the many freedoms we have come to enjoy and appreciate when away. Funnily enough, I believe the same conversation could occur many times over, with many fellow globetrotters that no doubt share the same sentiments.

Being a recent inductee to the 4th generation (that’s right, kicking it old school), I am by no means discrediting all mobile phones as incredibly useful tools, far from it. In fact, the dilemma here for many people is precisely how much mobile phones can do for you.

So why leave it behind?

  • Phones are something else to be potentially stolen or lost that can leave you a long way up the creek if you have over-relied on them.
  • Phones are a significant distraction, can keep you from being ‘in the moment’ and detract from your complete sensory experience of a place.
  • Phones can be too easy-here I am reminded of the long term friends I have been able to keep in touch with because I put in the effort to manually write down their phone numbers or addresses from home and (hopefully) not lose them. This sorts out the people you want in your life and the people you want in the moment.
  • Phones are too easy-This time I’m referring to all the forward thinking and planning that was previously required before mobile phones. Examples of this include searching for accommodation through a number of different means, having a map with you for directions, and being certain of what information you had written down or could ‘find out later’.

    Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand hel...

    Driver in a Mitsubishi Galant using a hand held mobile phone violating New York State law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having preached for long enough I feel it necessary to state the obvious that it is possible to take a phone with you and use it minimally. In fact at this stage that seems to be the exact plan for my next globetrotting adventures sans selfies. As always your GTG is intending to provoke mindful travel rather than dictate a rigid set of lifestyle rules. May we take the opportunity to wish you all the best for a phenomenal 2014 full of globetrotting milestones and self discovery 🙂

Uganda - mobile phone charging service

NB: Your GTG recognises the absence of the term ‘cell phone’ and thanks our North American English-speaking friends for persevering through such a display of reckless non-conformity 🙂