• 7/18/2014

Sabrina Czechofsky in Southeast Asia:

A lost phone? A stroke of luck!

Our reporter Sabrina Czechofsky travelled through Southeast Asia for five weeks. The disaster happened right at the beginning of her trip: she lost her phone. In the end, this turned out to be a stroke of luck:

Sabrina Czechofsky in Luang Prabang, Laos
Happy without a mobile phone: Sabrina Czechofsky travelled through Asia for five weeks without her mobile. Here she is, beaming in Luang Prabang, Laos (Photo: S. Czechofsky)

I had been travelling for less than a week when it happened: I lost my smart phone – right in the middle of the mega-metropolis of Bangkok. One evening, on my way home in a taxi, I had again sent pictures halfway round the world. Then, I had probably laid it down next to me on the seat, in order to pay. I got out – and when I noticed the loss, the taxi was already past the next intersection.

At home in Munich, when I was packing – surrounded by mountains of clothes and shoes – I had it in my hand, thinking about whether it was a good idea to take the expensive gadget along with me. Finally, my anticipation had triumphed over reason. I wanted to share my pictures and stories with everyone at home in real time throughout my adventure. That’s what comes of it! 

"Don’t worry ... …you can only reach me via facebook."

I was furious with myself. I felt bad the whole evening and desperately tried to call my own number. An hour later, the phone was off. Slowly, I realized that the chances for a reunion were slim. I informed my family and friends via facebook: "Don’t worry ... …you can only reach me via facebook."

The next day, I felt naked – as if a part of me was missing: cut off from the outside world. While walking around in Bangkok, I constantly rummaged in my pockets in search for my cell phone. Occasionally, I even thought I heard it ringing.

Phone had controlled me, rigorously

In retrospect, I can’t say exactly when I got used to it. At some point being without a smart phone simply felt normal. I travelled through Southeast Asia by plane, ship, bus and train, met nice people, climbed volcanoes, visited temples and simply enjoyed life. The holidays were indescribably beautiful.

…not despite, but because of my loss. Once the mobile connection was gone, I was able to relax. No more facebook, no Whatsapp and no "Süddeutsche". No more e-mails and no news from all around the world – just myself.

I had always thought of myself as independent of this dead object – and certainly not addicted. Others maybe, but not me! After I had lost it, I noticed that I hadn’t been in control of the phone. It had controlled me, rigorously. No matter where or when, I had always been reachable. I checked my emails regularly and had immediately responded to messages. I would not even have gone to the bakery without the thing.

Back home: freedom!

When I returned, I continued to live without a mobile phone. I read the bus schedule on the poster at the bus stop. On the way, I read a book for entertainment – and I made appointments from at home, via the landline phone. It was great. I didn’t miss anything and I didn’t need to be reachable at all times. I could focus on essential things again: freedom!

Now, after a lot of pondering, I bought a new smart phone. But the time without a mobile phone has made a difference. I often switch the phone off and leave it in my bag when I’m out and about. …and I’ll definitely leave it at home in Munich when I go for my next holidays!

Sabrina Czechofsky, 23, is from Augsburg and has been living in Munich for three years. Her last vacation took her to Southeast Asia. There, she travelled through Thailand, Indonesia, Laos and Myanmar for five weeks. Apart from her travelling, she is a law student at the LMU in her 6th semester and is also enrolled for a vocational training in Journalism at the Institut zur Förderung publizistischen Nachwuchses (ifp) in Munich. She has been working for the TUMstudinews as a freelancer since December 2013.

Technical University of Munich

Corporate Communications Center

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