12 Ways My Life Changed When I Had No Phone for Two Weeks

Two weeks ago I was complaining about how addicted to my phone and social media I was. One week and 6 days ago my phone disappeared – lost or stolen I don’t know – but what I do know is that I was phoneless in my bloggy world where my phone is paramount.

I was at a festival on a hill in Bilbao, there wasn’t much I could do, so I just decided to roll with it and see what happened.

Things that happen with no phone

– Photo by Or Kaplan, in Israel, in the iPhone 5 days

1. I looked up

Me finding directions usually looks like a cat with a toy – head bowing up and down trying to work out where the blue dot is telling me to go next. From having no phone for two weeks I now realise that I’m so intent on the map on my screen I become blinkered to all the signals around me.

Without a phone I’m forced to work it out with a paper map – meaning I look around for street signs, signals and any other signs I’m going the right way. It meant I saw more, was more alert and still managed to find my destination.

I was ok.

2. I had to arrange a time and place, and stick to it

“I’ll meet you at 6pm at the Ragliones Restaurant.”

And then we all had to stick to it and trust each other would be there – no messing about. It worked! Just like in the olden days! Who’da thought?!

3. I wouldn’t go on social media or emails all day

Of course it was the first thing I did when I got in, to check on my laptop. Not having the temptation to look on social media and emails was brilliant though, gave me so much more time to explore and to ‘be in the moment’. I swear I didn’t miss it once I was used to it. Apart from Instagram and WhatsApp, of course.

4. I needed to plan better

Instead of rocking up to a city, finding my hostel in my emails and then locating it on Google Maps I had to actually plan where I was going beforehand.

I even had to use one of those paper and pen things.

In San Sebastián I couldn’t even remember the name of the hostel I’d booked, just the street it was on. After walking up and down a few times I gave up and had to buy breakfast at a little cafe to use their Wi-Fi, apart from that though, I was alright.

5. No alarm! 

Nightmare. I ended up forking out €4.50 for a crappy alarm clock I didn’t trust. Luckily I set an alarm on my computer using the Wake Up Time App and barely slept anyway, so I made my 6:30 train.

Not having an alarm I could trust was definitely one of the worst things about not having a phone.

6. No torch 

When you’re a hostel traveller like I’ve been these past few weeks, a torch is a necessity. I ended up just turning the light on when I needed to see, possibly not the most popular choice but always the quickest.

7. I didn’t write as much

The thought of writing posts and articles on paper and then copying up electronically doesn’t appeal to me. So I basically didn’t write much when I didn’t have my phone. Not good, for someone who depends on writing for their income.

8. I didn’t take as many photos

I’ve barely got any photos of all the fun I’ve had in the past two weeks in Spain. Only from on the days I took my camera out like the last day in San Sebastián, to see the Sagrada Familia and the EatWith meal I had. A camera phone is so handy for always having with you, and so quick to use. I definitely missed it when it came to photography.

9. I talked and took in my surroundings more

It helps that I’ve been surrounded by friends and family this last two weeks but I feel like times when I would’ve normally reached for my phone I couldn’t, so I made people talk to me. I would also sit and take in the ambience of my surroundings, rather than blinkering myself with a Facebook newsfeed, or similar.

10. I’ve listened to my locale

If I’m by myself I’m pretty much always plugged into my iTunes. With no soundtrack I feel like I’ve been more alert to what’s going on and it’s felt like more of a treat when I have actually managed to have some iTunes alone time. I’ve been listening to music today though and definitely realised how much I’d missed it.

11. Remembering things has been less stressful

With only my purse to take care of it’s been pretty freeing. I’m always paranoid that I’ve lost my phone – you know that thing when your heart jumps, but then you find it again – the fact that I had actually lost my phone meant I didn’t have to worry about that happening anymore, it already had.

12. I’ve felt out of touch

Without the convenience of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp I feel like I’ve barely spoke to my friends back home. When I go on my laptop it’s to work, so I try and turn all that off. I feel quite out of touch when it comes to my friends’ lives over the last fortnight. Not good!

Back on the iPhone

I’m way too reliant on my phone. It’s been good to have two weeks off, if I’m looking on the bright side of it, but I’m more than happy to get back online in the palm of my hand. I just need to chill out with the constant checking. Not having the constant, inviting and addictive distraction has actually been really good.

For now I’ve been given a good old, scratched, iPhone 4. It’s all I can be trusted with until my travels are over. Some time never.

I can survive without my phone, I just don’t want to.

I Ate a Gaudi: The Ultimate Food Experience in Barcelona
Little Update on My Last Two Weeks in España
tagged in travel tech


  1. by Emily-Ann (grownupgapyear) on July 28, 2015  4:04 pm Reply

    I had the same thing when I went travelling and realised how hard it was to talk to other travellers in the hostel over breakfast as *everyone* had their heads in their phones/ipads! It definitely made me much more organised though and actually gave me something to look forward to in the evenings, rather than getting constant updates throughout the day. Not sure I could go back to it now though! ;)

    • by Vicky on July 29, 2015  10:38 am Reply

      I went to breakfast today in my hostel in Frankfurt and everyone was sat around by themselves, heads down and on some sort of device. I know I’m just as bad but it’s kind of sad right? I still haven’t restored the SIM on my iPhone so I can only look when I have Wi-Fi which has actually been a really good break for me. I don’t need to be connected every second of the day!

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