My phone is my camera - Challenges of turning my phone off
The streets of Calella de Palafrugell are empty in April. A few tourists roam the beaches and streets while shopkeepers work on opening up for the months to come. A family eating with their five children not far from where I was reading were chattering about how they loved this time of year; I couldn't agree more. The beaches are empty, the weather is warm, the best restaurants are open (at least at lunch), and the heat is bearable.
Nestled atop a cliff the little hotel Sant Roc is a dream of days gone by. It isn't posh but makes you feel rich; transported back to a time where everyone in the hotel knows you, guests converse with each other in front of the fireplace, and a group of tourists was cheering for a team watching a soccer match and having beers.
The days spent there last week were beautiful. I tried to stay off my devices, but still, I made a simple Instagram and Facebook post with a few pictures. I didn't want to spend my time away on my phone, and yet my phone has become my camera. I didn't want my phone to capture my attention while I was there and again the lure was there. A message from my daughter in London, another from a friend, an email from work ... bing, bing, bing and I was distracted. I swiftly moved the phone to silence; I did not want to be disturbed.
My daughter asked me this week, "What is your favorite App Mom and why?" My answer without hesitation, "Whatsapp. I can talk to you and my family anywhere, and I feel connected to you all the time." I love feeling connected, but I realize it is important to detach yourself as well. I was somewhat successful.
When I came back, I had an inbox exploding with emails and messages and a mailbox overflowing. A smile burst across my face when I saw three big handwritten envelopes which were obviously not bills; a wedding invitation, a package from Mom and a graduation invitation.
About two weeks ago I received a card from someone just stating how lovely it was to meet me. A handwritten card sent with the postal system. I was intrigued and happy.
Send a postcard or a letter this week. If you want to use the argument that you are wasting paper I have a suggestion, do it on something recycled but going vintage on occasion, slowing it down just like this little village in northern Spain is something we all need to do. You will make the receiver of your message smile, and it will mean so much more than an email. Oh and remember to put your phone on silence sometimes. A few hours off from your device is always a good idea and I am going to start lugging my camera around again.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife