Lisa Lansing

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Getting lost in Berlin

Photo by XU CHEN

Today was my first full day without a phone. Besides having a bit of Instagram withdrawal (just a little) I had to re-learn how to structure my day.

I relied on my phone for almost everything. It was my alarm clock, my flashlight late at night when I needed to find my way to the bathroom, the key to my insanely organized calendar (I schedule everything from lunch dates with friends to flights), how I kept track of every penny I spend, my pedometer that tracked my miles as I walk throughout the day, the easiest way for me to study Polish (Duolingo), and of course how I connected with my boyfriend, family, and friends 24/7.

The clouds today were incredible! Clouds like this always boost my mood. I’m not sure why, but they definitely make better photos.

The biggest problem I’ve faced thus far is navigating my way through an unfamiliar city without the help of Google Maps on my phone. Berlin is huge and I barely know my way around since I’ve only been here for two weeks. (Wow, time flies!) Also, I’m absolutely terrible with directions. I always get turned around!

I’m still able to get around without my phone and 24/7 internet access but now I need to plan my day in advance. Today I started taking notes in my notebook (with an actual pen and paper!) to help me remember how to get to certain destinations. I may even draw out a wee map of the city so I don’t get lost!

Today I did have a little bit of trouble at a train station but found my way with the help of two German kids. (They were so cute!) I asked them if they could translate the message being broadcast over the loudspeakers. Thankfully they filled me in! For some reason, the trains weren’t running to this station at all today, so they told me I’d need to take a bus or walk to another train station instead. Then I walked back to my friend’s flat so she could show me (on Google Maps) which route I should take.

And this seems like ages ago, but I remember the days when I had to rely on paper maps, road atlases, and print outs of Mapquest to find my way through bustling cities. Those were very confusing times but somehow we all survived without smartphones. I’m sure the next few weeks without a phone will be difficult at times but I’m honestly looking forward to it. Challenge accepted!

Could you ever live without your phone?

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