On a Break

Ditch Your Phone and Live a Little


It seems as if we can never really escape from the world going on around us. Every post, every like, and every snap is simply ingrained into our culture. In elementary school, I remember being jealous of my lucky friends who first received their phones. But after I had been gifted mine, I wanted to throw it out the window. Even though I was getting that rush of adrenaline every time someone liked my post, it never was enough. I would continue to crave more and more of it. I felt so wasted away waiting for my life to happen on a screen.

This past summer I was given the incredible opportunity of traveling to Peru for a mission trip, with one catch: I couldn’t bring my phone. I won’t deny it; I thought about how no one would get to “like” and “view” my selfies at the top of Machu Picchu. (I mean, who doesn’t like attention every now and then?) However, the thought of not having to take the extra baggage of followers and likes was purifying.

On the morning of my flight, I was ready to drop the 2,000-pound load my 129-gram phone had given me. I said goodbye to my phone with zero tears. For over 12 days, I would not touch my phone. Now, my circumstances for a “Zero Phone Lifestyle” were definitely different than circumstances most people will have. The temptation to get on my phone was 3,899 miles away from me. Also, not only did I have to leave behind my phone, but I left behind my personal space, comfort zone, and privacy. (I also couldn’t bring more than 2 items of makeup. I knew I’d be working with some chicos guapos, so this honestly was equally, if not more, upsetting than leaving a piece of technology behind. But that’s a story for another time.)

I found myself living in the present moment. I felt so liberated. Normally I am a very shy and quiet person,  but in Peru I was pushed far outside of my comfort zone by having to greet all the Peruvian neighbors with a hug and kiss on the cheek and speak with them in Spanish. I found myself making small talk with the other teenagers and adults around me rather than using my phone to avoid those initially awakward moments of small talk. Eventually these moments led to deeper conversations and beautiful friendships.

When I got back to the convent I was staying at, I could only reflect on what had happened throughout my day. Instead of wasting time on my phone looking at other people’s lives, I was looking at my own. I no longer had “FOMO.”  I spent my time writing in my journal or talking to my best friend and roommate, Ashlyn. Our relationship became so much more vulnerable and open. Having a meaningful conversation in person will always beat a conversation over text, however meaningful.

In summary, I had never experienced such joy and peace. Being away from a superficial world gave a deeper meaning to life. Removing myself from my phone culivated my relationships with myself, strangers, friends, and God. To those of you considering ditching  your phone or social media, remember that you might miss texts and snapchats, but the alternative is missing your life.