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Student Perspective: Sayonara Cell Phones

My first night on the MV Explorer was rough.  Waking up in a cold sweat, I instinctively extended my hand toward the bedside table, reaching for something that I knew would not be there.  No, I wasn’t seasick.  And I certainly wasn’t homesick.  I was experiencing my first case of withdrawal … from technology.

As it turns out, the middle of the ocean doesn’t exactly present ample opportunities to contact the outside world.  Farewell, Mom and Dad, for Skype will be out of the question (I really only wanted to say hi to Biscuit, our dog, anyway).  Sayonara, friends, you won’t hear from me until I reach the shores of Japan.  Adios, America. I’ll see you in May.

While my initial impression of life sans texting, cell phone service, and the Internet conjured up frightening images from a more primitive age, I have come to appreciate the restricted communication outlets on Semester at Sea.  Whether it’s the stunning sunrise saluting me at breakfast, the daily Insanity workouts on deck seven, or the nightly rounds of Catchphrase and Cards Against Humanity, I’ve found plenty of ways to entertain myself.  Plus, out of the 962 participants on this ship I’ve only met about 150, or 15 percent, thus far.

But how will I know when I’ve reached my 400th follower on Instagram? I knew you were wondering.  The answer is:  I don’t care anymore.  I’m too busy reading about China as I sit on the 7th deck.  I’m too busy having dinner with my shipboard family:  a married couple and their five children that they boldly dragged along with them.  I’m too busy experiencing the world to waste time mindlessly scrolling through my news feed.

Call me old-fashioned, but there’s something about relying on my cabin’s phone as the main method of communication that reminds me of the solitude of my youth, especially when I catch myself twirling its black cord between my fingers.

Most notably, this trip has already allowed me to connect with people in ways Facebook never could. It has brought me back to a period unencumbered by the incessant interruption of calls, texts, hashtags, and likes. For the next four months I’ll be trading in wall posts for post-it notes, FaceTime for face time, and Wi-Fi for the world. And I couldn’t feel more fortunate.

Until Barcelona:  ttyl Twitter, I’ll #brb.

By Alyssa Fishman,

  • Life at Sea

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