Getting rid of our cell phones was one of the first alternative lifestyle choices Mat and I made together. Our goal was to save money and to have fewer bills & responsibilities; and we were also pretty confident we could live without them.
For us, it seemed like a low risk lifestyle experiment because we could easily buy new phones if we started to panic without them so we bravely cancelled our monthly plans, sold the two phones, and one crisp morning in November 2011, we stepped outside of our house empty handed.
It seems funny to think back on how scared we were that day. We had gotten used to living with unlimited access to any information we wanted via those small black screens and we didn’t know what to do without them. We had to work a little harder to find alternative sources of information and ways to communicate without the phones but we figured things out pretty quickly.
For example, we used to take the bus to and from work and we used to check the schedule online. Without cell phones, we just had to pick up the bus schedule booklet on the bus and carry that with us instead.
If we wanted to make plans to meet up with each other, or with friends, we’d pick very specific locations and times so that we were sure not to miss each other.
In the 5 years since then, we’ve travelled around the world, worked online jobs, and started our own business — all without phones. Instead, we use our laptops and iPod touch to access free WiFi hotspots so that we can send emails & Facebook messages, and use Skype & Facetime.
Living without phones can be annoying if we need to make a phone call and the voice mail menu doesn’t recognize Skype’s keypad entries, or when we have a bad internet connection, but overall it’s not that bad at all.
Actually, we love the freedom of being disconnected and not having to answer the phone all the time. Getting rid of our phones also gave us the confidence to make other changes in our lives that have kind of snowballed into our current minimalist, nomadic lifestyle that gives us an incredible amount of freedom and for now, we’re happy to continue living cell phone-free.
We don’t expect anyone to get rid of their cell phone after reading this because we admit they can be incredible tools, and we definitely loved ours at the time. We just wanted to share this story as an example of how we are constantly testing ourselves and trying new things to see to what extent we can simplify our lives.
Happy Exploring :)