Disconnecting from Technology While You’re Abroad

Patrick Quimby is a student at Texas A & M University and an ISA Featured Photo Blogger. He studied abroad with ISA in Barcelona, Spain.

Let’s be honest. When you’re on the other side of the world studying, serving, or interning, you can’t wait to share those eye-opening experiences with your friends and family back home. Studying in Barcelona, my friends and I wanted to take as many pictures as we could while we toured the amazing sites the city and the region had to offer. While it’s great to capture those memories, I’ve learned to capture those moments in moderation.

Now, how did I come to this conclusion?

Well…I accidentally dropped my phone off Montserrat’s 4,055-meter peak.

To get to Montserrat, you have to ride in a funicular

Yep, you didn’t read that wrong. I watched my phone fall out of my pocket and slowly slide off the edge of the mountain and dive into an abyss of rocks and ice. I couldn’t believe it. I dropped my phone off a mountain. Not my brightest moment, to say the least, but nevertheless, it happened and I’ve moved on…begrudgingly.

Views from the top of the funicular station

To give some background, my friends and I decided to travel an hour northwest of Barcelona to Montserrat. This beautiful and serene monastery nestled in the mountains of Catalonia provides a perfect day trip for any student wanting to escape the city of Barcelona and just enjoy nature’s beauty. While the monastery is quite incredible, hiking up Montserrat is breathtaking (literally and figuratively).

The hiking trail is behind the monastery. Just follow the signs and you’ll be good to go.

After losing my lifeline (a.k.a. my phone), my first reaction was to laugh. Honestly, what else could I do? Of course, I was shocked. I lost almost all of my travel photos from up until that point, my contacts, and past memories. Sure, I lost an iPhone 7 and it absolutely stunk in the moment, however, I’d rather lose my phone than let’s say my passport or wallet. Your phone can easily be replaced. Your debit cards or ID? It’s going to be very difficult and tedious replacing those while you’re abroad.

Take a breather every once and a while and enjoy your surroundings.

After losing my phone, I slowly became less reliant on technology. I still took pictures throughout my time abroad, but I learned to disconnect and enjoy the world for what it is.

Beware of the snow at the top!

In short, disconnect from your phone and social media from time to time. View things solely from your original lens- your eyes.  You’ll be surprised at how refreshing it is.

This is the exact point where I dropped my phone.

Your Discovery. Our People… The World Awaits.

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