Get The Fuck Off Your Phone
Do you remember when the main goal of travel was getting as far away from everything as you possibly could? We prided ourselves on finding the furthest spots away from civilisation possible, getting to those places where technology and cell phone reception doesn’t reach. That was the main goal. We wanted to find the world that truly exists when we disconnect.
Why is it that nowadays all you see are travellers trading face time for FaceTime, even on the road? Travel is about experiencing something different, learning and engaging with the unknown. It’s about being present in the here and now, using our skills and knowledge to decipher problems, to get from point A to B and make real, personal connections. Everything about being on your phone is the opposite of that.
Your cellphone is admittedly an amazing travel tool. Many of us have all but given up the DSLR in favour of the iPhone. Having a flashlight on hand, or a calculator to split a bill or a real-time currency converter is invaluable. That’s before you even mention the offline Google Maps feature, which has saved many of us getting scammed by taxi drivers in a new city. Still, It’s hard not to feel nostalgic for the days when you had to use your underused and terribly pronounced Portuguese to get directions from the bus station in Forteleza to the sand dune town of Jericoacora. Or when we used to try to make conversation with the stranger next to us on a 14-hour bus ride, instead of sitting side by side but millions of miles apart, each absorbed in their own little bubble of video games.
With all these amazing technological tools at our disposal, many travellers have become lazier and less reliable. It used to be if you met someone at an ancient temple in Mexico and made plans to meet them that night at the Mono Loco, you arrived, more or less on time, or you would be standing them up. Now, its pretty easy to back out of plans, which means we’re more likely to let our irrational fears keep us from stepping out on a limb and meeting someone new. And with all of these translation tools at our fingertips, travellers are much less likely to study a language before they go, which means we’re communicating less and less with the local peoples. It’s simply depressing how far we’ve fallen.
Traveling is supposed to make us smarter, better, more knowledgeable, compassionate, understanding or cultured. Your phone is the opposite of travel. Your phone can so easily become a giant comfort zone that keeps you from experiencing the amazing places you’ve made this huge effort to experience.
Travel is about connecting back to what is really important. Why let your addiction to your phone detract from the incredible opportunity you have to actually be where you are?
Get off of your fucking phone and open your eyes to the world around you. You’re an individual, independent human being and you can figure out how to make it work without your electronic crutch. And for god’s sake, do not take another selfie, get off Instagram and learn to make some genuine, human connections before it’s too late.
Cover by Redd Angelo
Marisa Megan is a traveller and a storyteller from Brazil. She believes that tucked in the corners of the world there are amazing stories, and she seeks to find and share them.