Living without cellphone

In september 2016, I got my cellphone stolen. It was an old one at the end of its life therefore I was not very very upset (except that I lost everything in it, like pictures or messages and that my credit card got stolen as well, not great.) Just upset and sad, this theft happening to a difficult time of the year. Life was playing with me and telling me something I needed to listen, so I decided not to buy a new cellphone. At least I decided to live one month without one, as a challenge to myself and the ultra-connected world we live in. 


Matisse drawing a dove, by Henri Cartier-Bresson

This one month soon became 5 months. Here is my status report.


  • Disconnection. Without a cellphone, you are very aware of what is around you. Living in a big city can be tiring but if you focus on the right things and if you enjoy the time without checking your cellphone every 2 minutes, you will see things you would not have noticed otherwise. Being aware is always a good and salutary state of mind.
  • No more (useless) phone calls. As you are not reachable, people won’t call you to tell you stupid stuff or to bother you when you want to be left alone.
  • No more phone calls. At all. If you are not very comfortable when you have to pick up the phone, you won’t have to do it. Never. Same with sms you do not know how/want to answer. I guess it is a selfish reason, but it does not mean you won’t get back to people, just that you will take the time to do it.
  • More reading. As you do not have the chance to read your emails everywhere or to check your social medias, sms, mms in the subway or at the restaurant, you will be tempted to open a book, an actual book, more frequently. The same will happen if you do not have the internet at home. That is a perfect reason to get rid of your cell phone.
  • In a way, it leads to a more involving kind of communication because you will actually & only communicate with people in face to face, not via a machine. And you will make eye contact with people, strangers, friends or family. Something that does not happen a lot if your are glued to your screen.

Portrait de Gertrude et Ursula Falke, 1906


  • Disturbing for your entourage. The main problem will come from your entourage: they will tell you to get a phone ASAP because not being reachable is not acceptable, specially when you are a girl, in a city, late at night. It is not safe, you know ? And when your friends want to plan something, it is true that being reachable only via the internet a few hours per day is not convenient.
  • Professionnaly? Not responsible. You won’t be able to respond to your boss or collegues calls. You will miss any job opportunities, because they won’t bother emailing you twice if you don’t pick up when they call you. Too bad.
  • No music. I used to listen music with my cell phone as I do not have a mp3 player anymore. In my case, living without music was the hardest part. Although sometimes, surrounding yourself with silence can be quite enjoyable.
  • Life is not made for people without cell phone. You need a number to give almost everywhere you go, for administrative procedures to shops, medical stuff to any kind of registration, or even to make new friends. Not surprisingly, it is a very marginal and offbeat move to make the choice to live without a cell phone.



Tove Jansson


Of course, it is possible to live without a cell phone. You just have to organise your life differently and be prepared to the fact that in these days, not having a cell phone is a very unordinay if not crazy thing to do. Personally, I felt that not having one for a few months was more unhandy and disturbing for my family and friends than for myself. You just get use to it very fast. Let’s see what it feels like to receive calls and sms again !