I Left My Phone in the Venice Canal
I was so excited to be replacing my beloved Samsung Note 3 for the NEW Samsung Note 8 before leaving for my month long tour to Europe. I spent days loading contact and travel information, apps, books, itineraries, passcodes, everything I needed at a simple touch or swipe. I began getting familiar with the new camera features and tools the new phone offered. The day came and I was off to Venice, Italy to meet up with the rest of my travel group and begin our geniusETC month long tour of Italy, France and Spain. The second day in Venice we went exploring and were captivated by all the dead end alleyways. For fun, a friend said, let’s take a picture and caption it, Another Dead End. Great Idea, NOT! I positioned myself on the steps that lead to the water for the photo with my arms stretched out. I slipped, my phone dropped out of my hand and started making its way into the canal. My friend yelled, YOUR PHONE! I reached out to grab it before it slid in the water, but the slime on the stairs would not allow it, and instead, I fell hard on my bottom and slid into the canal along with my phone.
In shock and still trying to capture my phone, I realized there was no use, it sunk and now I needed to get myself out of the canal before I sunk. Trying to grasp the slimy steps to pull myself up and out was not working and I became anxious and began screaming, HELP ME!! My friend put her stuff down and positioned her weight on top of the stairs and leaned down with one arm extended to grab my arm; thank goodness she has long arms. She pulled and I pulled and eventually my torso was lying on top of the slimy steps. So there I was wet, cold, tailbone throbbing and grime all over my clothes. As we walked back to the hotel, I was still in shock and couldn’t believe what had just happened.
By the time I got back to my room, stripped at the door and scrubbed myself in a hot shower, I began feeling a sense of disconnect, asking out loud, what am I going to do without my phone? I was going to be in Europe for a whole month leading a tour, without a smartphone! I literally crawled into bed and took some remedies to make my tailbone feel better and began talking out loud, what am I going to do? I analyzed what I was going to miss; taking awesome photos with the Samsung new features, google maps for directions, internet to research destinations, phone to connect with others, apps to make traveling much easier, all that. Luckily, I am a bit old school and rely on paper as much as my phone. I had printed out the itinerary listings of all our hotel accommodations, train tickets and tour confirmations, so that was covered. I had my laptop that could do research in the evenings, so that was covered, but what wasn’t covered, was a tool for people to connect with me throughout the day and a camera.
After about two hours of contemplating what kind of tour guide I would be without a phone and my tailbone feeling better, I realized it was going to be OK and began laughing at the whole experience of falling into the Venice Canal and began singing to the tune of “I left my heart in San Francisco” but with new lyrics, “I left my phone In the Venice Canal”. Up to that point I was attached to my phone and always looking at social media, internet, and used it as a get information quickly tool. My friend pointed out that I was on it so often, who knew, I didn’t realize that. So with no phone for a few days, I had to rely on the group to take photos of Venice and that is when I missed my phone the most. As a writer, I take photos that tell stories, so I missed that in Venice, however the story of my phone and I sliding into the Venice Canal will live forever.
My daughter had an extra iPhone that she brought on the trip and suggested when we got to Florence, we would put in a new sim card and be able to have internet when Wi-Fi was available. Love that she found a solution for me and knew her way around an iPhone…because an iPhone is foreign to me. So I did that and was happy to have the ability to take my own photos, yet they were not as brilliant as what the Samsung Note 8 camera would have given me, but it was a fix for a temporary situation. I was able to get what’s app so I could connect with people on the tour, and my family back home could send messages and was able to check for those whenever I had Wi-Fi. I did not have any social media on the phone and eventually the iPhone just became my camera and I would download photos into my laptop at night, and post to social media and check emails on my laptop.
What this experience did for me, is to realize how attached I was to the convenience of my phone and may have been missing connections with myself and the world. For that entire month of travel I was so present in everything I experienced and met so many people that I may not have otherwise. I had to ask for directions, recommendations, and interact more. If my head was looking at the screen of a phone vs the face of a person, beautiful scenery, or just being absorbed in my thoughts and perceptions of the new places I was visiting, there would have been missed connections and insights.
I did not have notification interruptions or pings of incoming messages, found a new routine and enjoyed staying in touch at my own pace and time. After a few days of not having “my phone” I began feeling a new freedom, slept better, knew it was going to be OK and would get by without being connected to my smartphone 24–7.
Back home, I was able to pull out my reliable Samsung Note 3 and get that activated until my replacement Samsung Note 8 arrived…thank goodness I bought insurance. Now the phone serves a new purpose, and will not allow it to rule my actions and life. I do love the camera features and all the tools and apps that make our lives much easier, but it does not keep me from connecting to myself, family, friends, and the world around me. I can say this now…I was given a life-changing experience that was much needed and am happy my phone and I fell into the Venice Canal.