Isolation with no data

Travelling is really fun.  Get to see new places and have new experiences.  The adventure you can have can very depending on where you go.  I don’t travel a lot but have done so more in past year than in the past 10 years.  When I visited Chicago in the summer to see my girlfriend I found out how much fun not have data on your phone can be.  Being in a city where you don’t know much about can make you feel a bit lost.  Not to mention communicating with your wife and friends is limited.

The one thing that I find the hardest is being out of touch.  Traveling outside of Canada with basically no phone.   For those of you that don’t live here the mobile landscape is brutal.   We pay a high price for very little service (data) and if we roam outside of our country then we are pay even more.   I refuse to pay so it leaves me disconnected.   For some they might think this is good.  In some ways it can be but I communicate heavily with my phone to friends and family.  Keeping in touch via messaging is how I communicate primarily.

It is this feeling that drives me crazy.  Not able to just chat with someone or send them pictures of where we are is frustrating.  Also for those who don’t know if you send pictures by text it uses data.  This means that if you have data roaming off you can’t send any thing via text.  Stupid since you are not using data when you text but you do use the service if sending media.

So this disconnect can be frustrating.   Feeling like you are missing out or not able to stay in touch.   More frustrating if travelling alone.   The other side of this if you are trying to meet someone while travelling it is pretty hard if you don’t have a working phone.  We have been so spoiled with cell phone a that we use them without thinking.  Roaming you want too but can’t so you are forced to go old school.  My kids will be so lost when they travel since neither haven’t lived when cells phones didn’t exist.

For the three days I relied heavily on wifi, and luckily the US has a decent amount of free wifi when you are out and about.  Although that is great if you plan to stay in one area, but if not then you are constantly dropping off since it is only within a location that you can use the service.  So it makes for some frustrating conversations when you don’t get to finish since you leave a store or building and lose the connection.  Yes I am complaining, but more since I can’t just use the phone like I normally do.  Also get envious as I watch other people using their phones, and mine is sitting in my pocket with no connection.

The one advantage of all this is that I am isolated.  My gf has my complete attention, which she gets normally anyways.  The few days that I was not fully in touch was great.  Majority of the women I talk to knew I was out of town so they didn’t make any attempt to contact me either.  For three days I was isolated, but still able to gain some connection when on wifi when needed.  It feels weird knowing that you just can’t pull out your phone and google something.  Need directions, pull out my phone.  Need to find a store, pull out my phone.  None of this works when having no data, and this was the biggest frustration for me.  We went into Chicago for a day and with no phone, which normally is my lifeline on how to not get lost, I had to rely on my gf on getting us around.  Normally I would have my phone with the map showing me where to go.  It was old school like when I was younger.  Little scary since I didn’t have any information easily in reach.

Even back at the airport I had to kill couple of hours, and I briefly debated of getting wifi for that time.  After I ate I realized that with only about half an hour till boarding, I could kill that time easy enough.  After three days I was actually not needing the data connection, or at least not craving it.  I already informed my wife via text on my status, and honestly there wouldn’t be much more I would be doing on the phone anyways.  I will say that the phone was chirping and singing once I got back into Canada.  Music to my ears.

What I learned is that as much as I rely on my phone, after a few days without it you adapt fairly quickly.  I missed the communication, google and having easy access to information.  It did allow me to remember how to function when I didn’t have this option.  It was enlightening.  No I am not giving up my phone.  I did learn that as much as I missed it that I can work around it.  Something that we take for granted now.  Could you image if we didn’t have the gouging restrictions on data in Canada in place?  How much more people would be using their phones to learn about where they are?  Information is knowledge and sometimes being more informed can make things go smoothly.



2 thoughts on “Isolation with no data”

  1. You adapted better than I. The first time I visited Canada, I discovered how expensive it could be to use my phone in another country when I received a text notice of the charges I’d racked up! Thankfully the nice customer service guy helped me get onto a roaming data plan and reverse the charges as soon as I called them. I kept the plan, knowing I’d be returning someday.

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