I don’t need a smartphone…..yet


I don’t have a smartphone.

I don’t want a smartphone.

Using my laptop at home takes up a lot of my time.  It’s more than enough screen time for me.  When I’m not at home I like to look around me and see what’s happening in the world.

These days because of my teaching job I spend a lot of time in public transport and walking to lessons.  I don’t have a smartphone to hold my attention.  Instead I look at people, at the street, at cars, traffic, shops, the sky, the world.

How can somebody live without a smartphone?

Actually, at the moment it’s still pretty easy.

Back to basics

Here’s my phone.

red phone

No.  I’m joking.  That’s my previous phone. The one I had until about 2013.  It still works, by the way!  Then I bought a new one.

Here’s my real phone.

pink phone

Functions of my phone that I actually use:

  • Calling people on the phone
  • Sending text/sms messages
  • Alarm clock

That is all.

So, why would I need a smartphone?

When people realise that I have ‘an old Nokia’, they can’t believe that I manage to live and survive in the modern world.

I know.  I’m a dinosaur.  In fact, I’m an endangered species.

Here are some reactions I get from smartphone users (ie. everybody except me and my husband) when they see my phone:

  1. Oh my god, what is it?
  2. What do you do if you need to go somewhere and you don’t know the way?
  3. How do you get a taxi when you need one?
  4. What about using Instagram?
  5. How do you take photos?
  6. How do you keep in touch with your friends?
  7. Oh, my god!

And, here are my responses:

  1. It’s a phone. Just a phone.  You use it to make calls and text messages.  That’s all.
  2. Before I leave home, I look on Google maps and print a map of where I have to go. Or if I’m already in the street I will ask somebody for directions.
  3. Putting my hand out in the street indicates that I want a taxi, and one stops for me.
  4. I don’t use Instagram.
  5. I use my camera.
  6. By phoning them, texting them, or waiting until I get home and then I either email them (yes! Email!  I know…it’s so ‘static’…) or I message them on Facebook.
  7. Yes, oh my god, how do I live without a smartphone?

No signal

Did you know that my Nokia won’t work in either Singapore or Australia?  I know this because I was in both countries recently and I COULDN’T USE MY PHONE.  2G just doesn’t exist in these places anymore.

And in Singapore we had unexpected problems with cancelled flights, and I couldn’t phone my daughter, who was waiting for us in Australia, to let her know, and it was a big PITA.

Here is a list of countries where there is no 2G (this list may not be complete).

  • Australia: 2G no longer supported – 30.04.2018
  • Japan: 2G no longer supported – 01.03.2011
  • Singapore: 2G no longer supported – 01.04.2017
  • Taiwan: 2G no longer supported – 01.07.2017
  • USA: 2G GSM no longer supported – 31.12.2020

And so I had to borrow a smartphone while in Australia.

The first time it rang, I didn’t know how to answer it.  Lesson number one: you have to swipe, apparently, not tap, to answer a call.  Or is it the other way around.  I can’t remember.

Of course.  How could I be so stupid.

I hated it.  I don’t want a smartphone.

Every day I see people in the metro, head down, looking at their phone.

They don’t see –

  • where they’re going.
  • other people.
  • their city.
  • the world.
  • beauty.
  • danger.
  • anything!

I’m afraid for the future.  People think that they can’t live without their smartphones.  They can’t be disconnected from their social networks for more than 5 minutes without some kind of internal terror setting in.

Where I live, there are USB charging points in the newer train carriages, and in some bus stops.


bus stop charging
Charging points in the street in bus stops

Stop the world, I want to get off

Just this morning, one of my students showed me a new app which came with their latest Apple update.  It measures things.  Just point your phone to two different places and it will measure the distance between them.

And then you can screen shot it and send it to somebody.  No need anymore for this:

tape measure

No need to learn any manual skills anymore, the phone will do everything for you.  Everything else will become obsolete because of this – even our brains.

I know that one day, maybe sooner rather than later, I’ll have to get a smartphone just to keep up with the rest of the world.  I dread that day more than you can possibly imagine.

~ Cheryl

Let me know in the comments section how you feel about the invasion of smartphones in our lives, and how you manage to find a balance between the smartphone screen and reality.

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Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

4 thoughts on “I don’t need a smartphone…..yet”

  1. Hi Cheryl – I’m with you on a lot of these things. I have a smart phone (I’m in Australia so an old phone won’t work) but I use it for texting, the occasional phone call, and taking a random picture here or there. I’m not on Instagram or Twitter and have no intention of ever signing up. My blog probably suffers for the lack, but I’m willing to risk it for the sheer joy of not being stuck on social media all day. Now I’m off to read more about how you ended up in Russia!


    1. Hi Leanne, nice to see you here! Yes, I agree about not being ‘stuck’ on social media all day. I also don’t have Twitter, Instagram and some others, and I’m happy that way – I can have much more ‘me’ time (and more importantly, ‘husband’ time!)! Thank you for your interest in my blog, I hope you like it!


  2. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the latest mod cons Cheryl! I say as long as you’re happy using your Nokia phone just keep doing it. I have a smartphone and enjoy it but the whole screen time does my head in some days. I try to be a sensible user but there are so many people just addicted to their phones these days – good on you for taking a stand! #seniorsalon visitor


    1. Hi Debbie, yes, that’s what I’m afraid of actually – spending too much time with my head down looking at the screen. Plus, living in such a beautiful city, I don’t want to miss a think when I’m out and about, so not having a smartphone is certainly a positive thing in that respect! Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to last with my Nokia, with all the things you can do online now, soon we won’t be able to do them offline and I’ll be stuck! Thanks for visiting! 🙂


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