life without wifi and phone calls

Yes, mobile phones and wifi are almost second nature to us. Similar to the air we breathe and the water we drink, isn’t it? After all, what is the first thing we do when we wake up, turn to the mobile phone and check our emails or social media. Of course, we don’t need to do it. Heck, we’d be better off without doing it as most articles tell you but don’t we all just do it like those little robots who have been programmed to reach out for that phone as if that is how life is meant to be lived.

But then, imagine if you had limited wifi connection (very limited) and no phone calls that you could make. Do I see you shake your head in absolute shock? Well, that was how the past two weeks have been for me since I was on an overseas vacation. With no local SIM cards and limited wifi accessibility only at airports and the places of our stay, this felt very weird and crippling also in ways. Every time I wanted to reach out to google to figure something out or wished to call/message, I glared at my almost useless phone and put it away to be brought out with vigour where I could get some wifi.

But there were beautiful memories that were carved out of these internet-free moments. We met three friends while in Europe and we did not have any way to call them on our mobile/whatsapp them on the go. We decided where we would meet, often a park or a public place and then had a pleasant time seeking each other. The glee when we spotted one another was unmatched, very unlike the coordinated meets we do otherwise where we are often just a finger tap away on the phone. How locatable we are these days? Mobile phones with wifi keep us reachable at all times. We are always checking mails and messages and reacting to notifications as our cellphones buzz incessantly. It has become the only normal for our times. I am not shaming it just stating the fact.

Taking a cab was quite challenging too as most cab drivers don’t even have a rudimentary understanding of English. So, we called for Uber, but couldn’t call the driver. Can you imagine how nerve-wracking it was because the wifi was only accessible inside the airport? So while one of us stayed close to the airport to catch the wifi so we could see how the driver’s vehicle was progressing another ran to the parking. The children kept trying to locate the numberplate in other directions. It was till we finally managed to locate the cab which was parked some distance away.

When you are low on resources, you figure other ways out. Hence, the husband downloaded an offline google map of the city that came in handy when we looked for directions to a place we wished to visit as we travelled extensively on local public transport. Apparently, the map did not download completely hence we found ourselves feeling like Jesus as we walked on water (as the bridge on the map had not downloaded). That gave us a few squeals of laughter. All this added to the adventure value of the trip.

I am sure there are payphones but certainly not at any place where we could locate them. So, despite having mobile phones, we did not receive or make phone calls for two weeks except for a couple of WhatsApp calls when we did have limited connectivity. Quite something in today’s day and age!

And not having wifi on the go meant that we were hardly engaging with our phones. It has been a long time since as a family we walked, talked and had so much fun together instead of staring lovingly at our mobile phone’s monitors. We cooked when we bought local produce; we sang loudly to Bollywood songs on youtube; we admired the dogs that were omnipresent all over Europe; we walked miles everyday; we enjoyed interacting with locals and smiled at their enchanting accents as they struggled with English. We experienced and soaked in the large cities. Yes, it was fun. A few days without phones or internet does not kill you. It is actually quite enjoyable. Tell me, you will try it!

Have you had similar experiences?

Pic courtesy: Adamr at FreedigitalPhotos.net

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39 Thoughts on “The Unusual Life and Times Without Wifi and Phone Calls

  1. It is a unique experience to be among the most connected part of the world and yet not have any connectivity.

    But with Indian Telecom roaming the most expensive I can understand your challenges …
    Prasad Np recently posted…Supertree Show SingaporeMy Profile

  2. Hats off lady. You are a superwoman. How and when did you manage to write after a long trip? I’ve a lot to learn when it comes to multitasking.
    True, WiFi has become an indispensable part. Hope you had a wonderful trip despite minor hiccups like connectivity.

    • Arre no re baba. No superwoman! I was completely off work, reading and writing for 16 days and was bubbling with ideas to write. I truly looked forward to penning this one. The trip was memorable! I loved it.

  3. Oh I know what you mean, Rachna..It’s an experience altogether..we had bought maps and used that for reference in Paris without being glued to our phones..infact, even at home at nights after the little one is asleep we are trying to not look at the phone and just talk..mobiles have become so much part of our lives that sometimes it takes away from our personal time..the other day when my sis was here and the three of us were watching a movie, I practically banned phones from being near us because no one was watching the movie ! That’s how much addicted we have become to mobiles and that’s also why a vacation like yours is a must and a blessing..
    Nabanita recently posted…The SwingMy Profile

    • That’s a great strategy, Naba. Unwillingly, we just get into browsing non-stop. This was a beautiful change. I thoroughly enjoyed being WiFi free. The bloopers were hilarious though.

  4. It’s a good experience to be away from the dependable phone, isn’t it. It soothe the nerves, I feel. I plan to stay away from the phone and disable net. Let’s see how it goes. How I wish not to be enslaved by gadgets!!!

  5. Welcome back Rachna and thanks to our long phone call yesterday I know ho much you missed the phone 😉 There’s a special pleasure when we don’t have access to WiFi. That happened on a few trips this vacation- in Mysore and Wayanad. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly playing traditional card games, catching up on reading, even playing some tennis on the spur of the moment! Plus soaking in the beauties of Nature was a HUGE plus.

    I love the connectivity that social media offers but I adore the peace that I have when I don’t have connectivity. And finally, I have made peace with the balance that I’ve found 🙂 So cute to read about your adventures with Uber and Google Maps. Enjoyed your pictures a lot on FB!
    Shailaja Vishwanath recently posted…That perfect photographMy Profile

    • Thanks, Shy. Absolutely, the dichotomy of life. We want it but a little bit of it and sometimes none at all. That balance is just the most difficult to achieve. Glad you had a lovely vacation as well. And I thoroughly enjoyed chatting over the phone with you. Always do much better.

  6. Two weeks without connectivity is quite a feat! I don’t recall having long trips of the kind, but each time I visit my hometown I gear up for a few no- internet days since there is no wifi in the place. In fact, I very much look forward to it, because I get some books and other activities ready to spend time there. By the time we leave, I’m all excited about the visit. And it always proves to be a lovely time. 🙂
    Dashy recently posted…Standing outMy Profile

  7. Look forward to reading the stories of your European adventure after seeing the enticing pictures. Public transport and Travel cards come very handy in exploring the places:)
    Rahul recently posted…The Digital DivideMy Profile

  8. A very liberating feeling, isn’t it! Actually we do tend to get too dependent on the internet and stop using other faculties that worked perfectly well until just a few years back! Looking forward to read your holiday tales, I am sure you had a fantastic time!

  9. We always buy a local sim with internet for ease of commute and navigation. So!

    I did have that glee moment recently though – me and my husband were travelling from a different city to Delhi airport. He did not have an Indian sim card. And by the way, it takes a minimum of four days to get a sim card in India and get it activated – a big nuisance for travellers! Anyway, We were suppose to catch the next plane together. We decided to meet at the lounge but our timing matched and we met at the check out counter. It was like seeing a best friend after ages – such fun!!

    • Yes that was the plan for us as well to buy a local SIM but the plans they were offering were not so good. Besides we would have to get another SIM in France hence we chucked that idea. 4 days — that’s atrocious. India needs to make these things easier.

    • Yes that was our original plan as well to buy a local SIM but we didn’t like the plan they were offering. 4 days if too much. India really must do something better.

  10. We think we cannot survive without connectivity but manage wonderfully without it. We spent a couple days in Heron Island (Great Barrier Reef) with no internet, TV and access to newspapers and it wasn’t that bad.
    Purba Ray recently posted…How to be a true PatriotMy Profile

  11. What a delightful vacation you had!! Life without phones is fun, I had a similar trip beyond Leh last year!
    It must have been a wonderful experience, do post a photo diary for us to enjoy the pictures 😀
    Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari #MLLSMy Profile

  12. Rickie on May 16, 2016 at 1:41 pm said:

    Please next time roaming chalu karke travel karna. I think one must have calling and data both handy in case of an emergency.
    Glad that you folks had a solid vacation! I think the memories will last for a bit…at least until the next travel is undertaken!

    • In that sense we had both calling and data at the places of stay and emergency numbers for family to contact us. Actually we prefer to take local SIMs but were not too happy with the plans they had. Plus the hassle of taking different SIMs in Italy and France. I think the kids are of an age where they appreciated the history, culture and the aesthetics of the places visited much more than when they were younger. Italy was a country l wanted to visit since long and it didn’t disappoint at all.

  13. Yes, I have tried it, Rachna 🙂
    Forced to experience life without 24/7 Internet with no international roaming or investing in the costly phone-card!
    Anita recently posted…League Of Lost ThingsMy Profile

  14. I did that in India for a week I had no phone…it was such an amazing time with family..nice experience shared 🙂
    shweta recently posted…Spring haul videoMy Profile

  15. You had such an amazing vacation… I saw the pictures on Facebook and can see that you must have explored every nook and corner. I had similar no wifi no phone vacation last yr. I had just whatsapp my bro from airport to tell parents that we reached safe and sound.. And that was all. It was so peaceful… Enjoyed reading about your experience 🙂
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Zentangle: CornucopiaMy Profile

  16. My treks are like that, generally, but never faced it in cities and towns yet. This year, though, I may have to face up to it with prepaid cards not functional in Kashmir, which is where I go trekking this year.

    But, yes, off the net and offline is the norm for me anyway when I am out of phone, having an aversion to getting a phone smarter than myself 🙂
    C. Suresh recently posted…NutritionMy Profile

    • Yes, the hills generally give you bad reception. Now Kashmir will be a unique experience. Oh I didn’t know that our normal numbers don’t work there. I think as a family being offline for so long was a new experience for me.

  17. As much as I embrace and love technology, a technology-free (well, not entirely 100%) holiday is something amazing. It helps us get closer to the place as well as our travel companions though – so always a good thing.
    Sid recently posted…Confessions of a Hotel KleptomaniacMy Profile

  18. Oh yes! Every time we go to India, we don’t want to pay for the overseas coverage for our phone connections, so we simply only connect with wifi if available. Last time, my parents only had dial-up connection, so it wasn’t even worth firing up their desktop! It was a pleasant surprise that my two kids also never said a word of complaint about it! Just goes to show that all of us can enjoy our time without being online or glued to a screen all the time!

  19. Oh yes, its both a boon and an irritant isnt it. We have gotten so used to being connected all the time, that it’s quite difficult to be without it.
    themoonstone recently posted…Emil’s EnemiesMy Profile

    • True, Asha. And at some places, it is useful to have wifi especially when in a different place. But the flip side was that we really felt more engaged in our surroundings.

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