From Always Having the Latest Smart Phone to Not Even Owning A Phone



I really shocked this Indian guy last time I was in Singapore.

I was sitting in the lobby of the hostel, working on my MacBook when he walked up to me, “Hey man, what kind of mobile do you have?”

I looked up and responded, “I don’t have a mobile.”

A look of shock came upon his face and he slinked back, turned around and muttered, “well, that’s different…”

At this point, a smirk had formed on my face. “Haha.. what’s up? I haven’t had a mobile for month’s man..”

He responded, “It’s just different, that’s all. I mean, how do you communicate with people?”


This is the world we live in today. One where people think if you don’t have a mobile phone then you have no way of communicating.

Umm… what?

I don’t know about you, but I never really found the phone to be a great way of communicating anyway. I never really liked phone calls. The quality is not great, and the communication isn’t great either. Text messages are even worse.

In fact, the best way to communicate: the pure way to communicate is in person. The funny thing about in-person communication is most of the communication does not actually come from words – it comes from everything else: gestures, body language, facial expression. All of these are missing in phone calls or text messages.

Basically, I prefer to meet with people in person to any other method of communication.

That may be a surprise from someone coming from someone who travels around the world and mainly works virtually, but hey..  that’s just another reason I don’t need a phone.


I used to always have the latest Smartphone.

I had the T-Mobile Sidekicks, the HTC Mogul, HTC Touch Diamond, the HTC Evo, some Samsung smartphone, oh, and even an iPhone at one point.

And, I’ve realized… I just don’t need a phone.

I like to read, so I have a Kindle for that. None of the other apps on a phone are really necessary. Most anything I need to do can be done with my MacBook.

I don’t need text messages – I have Facebook chat and Skype. And actually, I have text messages anyway. I have a Google voice number with which I’m able to text people with US numbers.

Yeah, about that. I don’t have a phone, but I still have two phone numbers. I have a US number with Google voice and a Hong Kong number with Skype.

The Hong Kong number was the easiest Asian number to get, didn’t require a Hong Kong address or anything silly like Singapore and Japan do. You gotta love Hong Kong. They just make things easy – or at least they make owning a HK-based business and having an HK number easy. I’ve never even been to Hong Kong.

But with Facebook, Skype, LinkedIn, e-mail, an Asian-based phone number, and a US number…. why would I need a mobile to communicate?

It’s a silly suggestion to say the least.

To me anyway.

I like not having a phone. It keeps me grounded. I’m not one of those idiots looking down at his screen and checking his phone all the time. No. If I look at anything – I only have one device easily accessible for that – and that’s my Kindle. So, I’m basically only reaching for a book.

It feels better that way.


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5 thoughts on “From Always Having the Latest Smart Phone to Not Even Owning A Phone

  1. I commend you for going without a phone. You did make some valid points here as well. I really despise talking on the phone, for any reason. If a serious conversation is to take place, I insist it’s done in person anyway. In my online personal ad, I specified that I do not want to exchange emails and/or text messages. I want to meet “the old fashioned way” and get to know someone in person. You’d be surprised (or maybe not…) at how many scoff at that idea. No one wants to meet and talk to a “stranger” in person. It’s a terrible idea to most people. What I think is a terrible idea, is going on and on via text or email. interpreting things the way I see them and possibly missing their entire point. I prefer to see the body language, I want to speak face to face.

    A friend of mine gave me this idea, when he said Facebook was going to be the demise of society as we know it. He canceled his Facebook page, deleted his Yahoo Messenger account and put in his personal ad that he will meet in person and won’t text back and forth. It inspired me. Now, this post is challenging me for new reasons.

    Thanks for making me think. I like to challenge the life I lead and try new things. Something to ponder….

    1. Haha.. I’m all for the demise of society.

      Yeah, but actually with Facebook I see it as a necessary evil. Too many friends in too many places. Phone numbers and email addresses change to much to be reliable. Hence…. FB is the go-to method of getting in touch with people.

  2. I really dislike Facebook. You’re right about it being a necessary evil. The only reason I have it is because I don’t want to completely lose touch with those people I rarely get a chance to connect with from my past. I don’t post statuses or use facebook chat however – at most I facebook mail and upload photographs so I have a back-up if anything goes wrong with my laptop…

    I couldn’t go without my phone. I love it and for me, phone-phobic that I am, phones are finally at that level where I can enjoy them. I hate phone conversations, for example, but love twitter. I don’t text, but I do whatsapp. And I take photos. Lots of them. And listen to music. I don’t want to have to drag around a camera, an ipod and a laptop just to have all the things I need. My phone does everything at once. And there’s no point in feeling accomplished in not staring at the screen of your phone all the time if you’re only swapping one screen for another (from phone to laptop)… or am I missing something?

    Personally my phone and my ereader are all I need when I’m out and about and that suits me fine, although I do wish there were some kind of electronics etiquette out there (like NEVER look at phones/leave earphones in/etc while talking to somebody/at dinner/while paying for something in a shop)… Some people are just rude though!

    1. Yeah, I hear you. Actually, I’m trying to make an effort get away from the screen more often in general. Of course, I’m a big fan of the internet and what is possible in a connected world, but I do think a lot of times – we need to push ourselves to get away from our screens more often. Not completely – but just more often.

      And that’s true of all screens: TV, laptop, phone, iPad..

  3. I just bought my first cellphone a few days ago. I took the sim card out, and never signed up for any phone services. My mp3 player died, and I figured a phone is better investment since it can play music and take pictures.

    I hate phones; if I want to get in touch with someone I do it via email, or in person. That said it’s easy for me to do things this way, because I don’t know very many people. I did have Facebook for a while in my university days, but only because when I had to do assignments with people they preferred getting in touch that way; I have since deleted the account forever.

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