Going out without a mobile phone

Try travelling without a mobile phone, a watch or, worst still, jewellery. On the advice of friends and guide books concerned for my safety, I left them all behind for seeing the sights of Buenos Aires.


I did think of taking my fake Rolex but had left it too late to get a replacement battery and besides, as another friend wisely pointed out, it could probably make you even more of a target.


So I went walking the streets and riding on trains with my eyes constantly vigilant, and a mostly empty handbag strapped securely across my chest and gripped firmly into my armpit.


Going without a mobile for most of the day is no great hardship, and going without a watch seems to work all right so long as you have a travelling companion who doesn’t mind repeatedly being asked what the time is. I find that without a mobile, there can be parts of the day when you can be truly idle and spend time just looking out of train windows.


What is the personal gain from travel if we do not take some time to look out at views, from planes or trains or skyscraper hotels? I liked this article on “reader’s block” which I read in the Times last week, which quoted “the cosmonaut who said that he didn’t read a page of the book that he’d taken to the space station because his spare moments were better spent gazing out of the window.”

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