Seven Days Without My iPhone

Category: Weekly Columns

No photo-editing. This image was real! The pilot playing after dropping us off.

Note: This column was written while on vacation – heli-skiing – during the first week of April, 2012. And, in fact it was nine days…

I have just embarked on a heli-skiing trip to the Cariboo Mountains. I chose NOT to bring my iPhone. First, I had thought there was no reception at the lodge. Second, every time I go to Canada I incur stupid charges that piss me off. And, third, I thought it would be a great experiment to go without it.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!! It’s been three hours and I’m going crazy!

No, just kidding. It’s been all day and while I have reached in my pocket for my iPhone a few times, the frequency is diminishing. So far, the biggest problem is knowing the time, since I have become used to checking the time on my iPhone rather than wear a watch, much like most kids do these days. My wife is already regretting that I don’t have the phone because I’m asking her the time all the time!

Just picture snow on those mountains...

It’s the next morning and I had the hotel wake me up. Didn’t even notice the absence of my phone. Am sitting at the laptop and replying to all my email and doing my usual morning routine, which does not require the iPhone. So far, so good.

But I need my coffee and my wife is still putting on her make-up. When I asked how much longer she’d be, she replied, “Go ahead and go down and get your coffee…I’ll be there in a minute.” But NO, I won’t make that mistake. What that really meant is, “Don’t you dare go down and leave me here alone. Wait for me.” I’m not going to fall for that trap! See what happens when you leave your iPhone home!?

It is several hours later and we are on the bus going to the heli-pad where we’ll be flown to the lodge for our week of heli-skiing. I now realize my blunder was not leaving behind my iPhone, but leaving behind my just purchased iPad. What a dummy! The reason is that I tend to approach each new tech device with a bit of trepidation about learning to use them. Given I have an iPhone and MacBookPro AND had two quick lessons on the iPad at the Apple Store, both setting it up and showing me the basics, I most assuredly should have brought it. Heck, the battery life alone would have given me more use on this 7-hour bus ride than my dying laptop. Dumb.

It’s been another 24 hours without my phone. Naturally, it’s getting easier but my wife is quite annoyed at me still asking the time all the time. AND, it turns out there’s cell reception up here in the mountains in the middle of the Cariboo Mountain Range, where we’re staying. I see other people using their phones, talking, laughing, playing, etc. But, other than wanting to share a photo or two, which I can do with my laptop, I’m doing fine.

It’s now at least 72 hours since I last wrote on this column and I haven’t missed my iPhone AT ALL. Yes, I’m spending a lot of time on my laptop, but that is mostly to download videos and photos from our trip. And, I just spoke to my older son via Facebook/Skype and that was cool. He had a few of his buddies over and they could see the mountains in the background behind me.

The part that is so liberating is not feeling the need to check my phone every other minute. Oddly enough, the only thing that I do sort of miss is the clock on my phone.

So, what will re-entry be like?

I have now finished the week without my iPhone. I actually feel like I’ve forgotten all about it. Will I still know how to use it? On this current trip, almost everyone had some sort of tech device that was part of his or her attire.

This was also a week without ANY television. The ONLY video any of us watched were the ubiquitous videos we all took during our incredible days of heli-skiing. I used my GoPro, others had camcorders, and most everyone had a pocket camera that took both video and stills.

I developed a regular routine upon returning from the ski day. I’d download whatever video and still photos I’d taken. With the stills, I quickly went through them and deleted the truly awful ones, named the truly good ones, and left the rest in purgatory to be viewed, edited, and/or printed at some indeterminate time in the future. For more about this trip, read How to Ski Out of This World (lots of great photos and videos within this column).

Could your kids go without television and cell-phones for a week? Could they live without any cell-phone, as I did for a full week? I wonder? For that matter, could you?

I’m ready to return home, but I must admit I’m less ready to resume the lifestyle of overwhelming attachment to all the tech I use. I’m grateful for this break.