Breaking our Cellibacy

 

Over three years ago, not only did we give up our home and most of our possessions, but we said good-bye to an important piece of ourselves. We cut off a precious extension of our fingertips and mind – we silenced our cellular technology.

It took awhile to accept such a drastic adjustment. We were a little lost without it; we were no longer reachable by text message (GASP!), and Pete’s poor thumbs went through intensive therapy to be broken of their Blackberry-ready-position.

And after the first difficult adjustment period, something unexpected happened. We discovered that we loved being so disconnected. We were proud non-cell phone users, and reveled in our minority status. We were present, we were in-the-moment, we could spend the day nearly dying in a mudslide or kayaking amidst glaciers and not worry that we would be distracted with a message or phone call. Not everyone liked it: parents expressed worry about our off-the-gridness, and we had one person tell us that we were rather rude for being so out of touch. But everyone learned to live with it.

We’ve gone three years without, so when Samsung Mobile offered us a new Galaxy SIII to use on our travels, we were hesitant. We’ve managed (and enjoyed) this time without a cell, do we really need one? Would it distract us from our living-in-the-moment philosophy?

And while we’ve been buried under this non-cellular rock, the technology blew up, and we realize now that as both travelers and bloggers, having a smart phone could have actually added to our experience. We could have saved a lot of time with some of the great features, and captured spontaneous moments with ease. We realize that we have indeed been missing out, for several reasons.

 

Camera

The new Galaxy SIII comes equipped with a powerful 8 Mega pixel auto-focus camera. One of the most impressive features is the zero shutter lag so we don’t have an excuse for missing photo opportunities. We can even activate voice control to say “shoot” and the camera will take a shot (great for those cold days coming up in Wisconsin).

Samsung GalaxySIII Camera - 800x533

 

We have been having a lot of fun with this new device and you can see some of the our latest captures on our Instagram page which was just rolled out this week for viewing on the web. The Galaxy SIII has replaced our point-and-shoot, and will confidently step-in for our DSLR when necessary.

 

Features

We now understand why these devices are called ‘smart’. The GalaxySIII has a lot of cool features to help make life a little easier.

Smart-Stay feature – It can actually recognize when we are looking at the screen and will prevent the phone from locking or turning on the screen saver. This is so useful when reading webpages or documents and not being interrupted. (At first we thought this was terribly creepy but now really appreciate the feature.)

Gestures – The phone has some cool gestures that are very convenient. Placing the phone screen-down will enable mute mode, thus not interrupting a meeting or dinner with a call or message (we can still be in-the-moment)! For a screen shot of any page, we can just swipe our hand across the screen to capture it. Phone calls are made easier by voice commands, and while reading a text message from someone, placing the phone up to our ear will automatically call whoever we were messaging!

Samsung GalaxySIII

 

S-Voice – Voice command technology at the touch of a button! We can ask for directions, a weather forecast, or hotel and restaurant recommendations. We can also make telephone calls or even play music by just telling it to. It’s hands-free technology that works really well and picks up and understands our voices without a problem.

 

Overall, it has become a valuable tool in our blogging-arsenal, allowing us to be more accessible, take great photos on the go, and work more efficiently. (And it will probably make our parents happy that we have it, although we have yet to give them our number).

 *****

Many thanks to Samsung for gifting us a Samsung Galaxy SIII, and for sponsoring an upcoming trip (follow along on Twitter, searching for the hashtag #GalaxyTraveler for more details)!  All views expressed here are our own honest opinions and do not reflect the views of Samsung.

 

50 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • November 9 2012

    We were JUST talking about the freedom of disconnectedness in the staff room yesterday. 🙂

    I don’t use my iPhone for calling much. I just love having a teeny little computer in my pocket that can take good pictures. 🙂
    Ter recently posted..Blogging Divorce

    • November 10 2012

      I suspect that that is how it will be for us too. We’re just too used to not having a phone anyways! But, absolutely LOVE having the great camera on hand, and access to the interwebz when we need it!

  • November 9 2012

    Good to know. I’m due for an upgrade and so ready to break up with my Droid X. I’ve been going back and forth, considering the iPhone 5 and the Galaxy SIII. I’m sure Samsung will be pleased to know you might have made my decision for me.
    Francesca recently posted..Longing for Istanbul

    • November 10 2012

      Glad to be of service. 🙂

  • November 9 2012

    I like the idea of buying one for my travels. I could stay connected with my friends, Facebook followers and family. Is it more expensive than Iphone 5?
    Agness recently posted..Time to Move on: Saying Farewell to Cambodia

    • November 10 2012

      For an unlocked phone, the Samsung is almost HALF the price of an iPhone 5. Much cheaper!

  • November 9 2012

    I don’t have a smart phone yet – mostly beacuse I feel like I would never disconnect. Some apps would be handy and taking photos of foods in restaurants would be good so I may break down one day.Nice to read a post about something other than an Apple.
    Leigh recently posted..A Waterfall, Rock Art & Beauty on a Desert Hike in SW Utah

    • November 10 2012

      I suppose it’s all about invoking a little willpower, and so far that hasn’t been an issue for us yet, largely because we are so used to being without it anyways. The camera and editing apps are so handy to have, as well as a few of the other cool features. It’s going to be a big time saver for us when it comes to blogging.

  • November 9 2012

    I’m with you! I just got my first smartphone in June after moving home from Myanmar, and I’m in love with it! Although I also love setting it down and ignoring it for hours. 🙂

    Congrats on the media project – I’m excited for you all!
    Bessie recently posted..A Change in Travel Tradition: Our 5th Wedding Anniversary

    • November 10 2012

      Thanks Bessie! That’s the key…setting it down and enjoying everything around you, right? As long as we can still remember to do that, this is turning out to be a such a fantastic tool for us to have.

  • November 9 2012

    I love the Galaxy SIII and I think I may even be able to leave the laptop at home for shorter trips and just blog from home.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Yellowstone Park is dangerous

    • November 10 2012

      Our next short trip, Pete’s going to leave his DSLR at home too. That will be an interesting experiment for him. 🙂

  • November 10 2012

    The fact that it has that eye that knows when you’re looking at it creeps me out a little… hahaha. But from what I’ve seen, it’s a pretty sweet phone for travelers/bloggers!
    Amanda recently posted..8 Things You Might Not Know About Bulgaria

    • November 10 2012

      Ha, yeah, that’s what I thought about the eye tracking thing too! But it is really pretty cool. This has been a big plus for us – even just for being on instagram of all things! We were bad travel bloggers for not being on there before. 🙂

  • Emily in Chile
    November 9 2012

    I decided the SII and SIII were just too big for me, but I’m loving my new Ace Plus!

    • November 10 2012

      Very cool! (Had to go look at what that was – haha!) Glad you are happy with it.

  • November 10 2012

    I have a Samsung smartphone as well (not as fancy as Galaxy SIII) but I still LOVE it! Swype anyone?
    Raymond @ Man On The Lam recently posted..Shopping at IKEA Dubai — Same, Same…but Different

    • November 10 2012

      You’re a #GalaxyTraveler too! We need a secret handshake.

  • No interest in getting a smart phone of any kind. We had an old cell phone for emergency use only, and in fact we cancelled it when we entered Mexico this year. We find we are connected enough just with laptops and wi-fi where ever we find it, although we do have a cell stick for use in Mexico on a pay as you go basis.
    http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com recently posted..Relaxing

    • November 10 2012

      And I totally understand wanting to be that way! We just made the decision that for us, it was really going to make a difference with our blogging. And, for better or for worse, that’s a big part of our life now. 🙂

  • November 10 2012

    I’ve never owned a smartphone, but I think you’re talking me into it! If the photos are that good and we can do Instagram, it might be worth it.
    Alyson recently posted..Kopi Luwak. Civet Poo Coffee

    • November 11 2012

      That is a big bonus, being able to Instagram to our hearts content! 🙂

  • Aafke
    November 10 2012

    Yesss new devices. Congrats!

    • November 10 2012

      Haha, I was waiting for that! 🙂

  • Jarmo
    November 11 2012

    While I agree that being disconnected has its benefits. I do also like having a small little device that allows me to get my emails, tweets and all that (especially useful for bloggers). And last year when I was travelling, I think I used my iPhone for phone calls maybe once a month if that.

    • November 11 2012

      I think that we will probably use it in the same way. Also, because if we both got addicted, we’d also be fighting over it! Ha!

  • November 11 2012

    I have an S3 too, which is an upgrade to the original Galaxy S. The zero shutter lag camera is just amazing – makes it more useful than most point and shoots even. Plus I always have it with me. Love it to bits 😀
    Laurence recently posted..Travel #Pinspiration: Beaches

    • November 11 2012

      Another #GalaxyTraveler! 🙂

  • November 11 2012

    It is really great that you spent so long ‘disconnected’. But you are now likely to become addicted to the convenience of a smartphone! I love having my smartphone with me when I travel. It means I don’t have to take my laptop or search for internet cafe’s. It makes life so much easier, and I don’t use it for calling or texting very often anyway due to the cost.
    Candice recently posted..My Interview with Atlas Sliced

    • November 11 2012

      I am confident that our willpower will prevail! Stay strong! 🙂

  • November 11 2012

    My iPhone 3s died after 3 years, and then I went almost a year without before picking up a used 4s when the 5 came out. To be honest, it kind of drove me crazy not having one. Not because I call or text people a lot, but because it’s just so damn useful for all kinds of things.

    One device lets me carry a calculator, map, language dictionary, camera, voice recorder, notebook, and music/podcast device in my pocket.

    Frankly the thing saves me a lot of time & pack weight, and helps improve my writing with my heavy use of Evernote. I think you’re going to love having a Smartphone with you. Throw it into airplane mode if you want to stay disconnected. 🙂

    • November 14 2012

      We have yet to make a call on it, and I think it will likely stay that way – we’re just so used to not having it! But, having the tiny computer in our pocket (as another commenter said) is definitely going to be a big plus for us. 🙂

  • November 11 2012

    My name is Jennifer and I am addicted to my smartphone. I really like being able to tweet, Facebook, email, and even post a blog post from almost anywhere around the world. And admittedly, I almost don’t know what to do when I can’t. When are they going to make these things for under water use?!
    Jennifer recently posted..Lorraine American WWII Cemetery and Memorial

    • November 14 2012

      At least you can admit it Jennifer. That is the first step. 🙂

  • Alouise
    November 11 2012

    I don’t have a smartphone, just a basic LG cell with a really bad camera (I like to call my phone my stupidphone). I do have an ipod touch (no camera) and I find myself searching for cafes and restaurants with wifi so I can check in on Yelp, or go through Facebook, or check Twitter, to read other blogs, or even attempt (usually without success) to update my own blog. If I had a smartphone I fear I would have a hard time striking that balance between staying connected and being too connected (although the idea of always having a good camera on hand is very tempting). For now I don’t need a smartphone, but I think in the future, maybe when I get to travel a bit more, getting one will be useful.

    • November 11 2012

      Before this came up with Samsung, we were talking about getting a smart phone anyways – even though hesitant, we knew that we really needed one for taking our blogging forward another step (i.e. better mobile photos, Instagram, etc.) So this is working out great for us, because we really are so happy with the Galaxy SIII.

  • November 12 2012

    Damn, I had to PAY for my Samsung SII. And you went ahead and got given the SIII!

    But I swear by it, the only problem I have is having to charge the damn thing 3x a day when I want to use GPS and Internet.

    • November 14 2012

      Ian, have you tried the app “Juice Defender”? Someone on Twitter recommended it to us, and so far it seems to be a big help!

  • November 12 2012

    I am like you and loved being without technology while traveling, however now thinking about the cool apps etc that I am missing out on.
    Natalie recently posted..The Church of the Redeemer and the True Cross

    • November 14 2012

      There are really so many amazing things about this phone that we could never have imagined previously. We feel so out of touch, trying to learn how to use everything!

  • November 13 2012

    I NEED IT.
    Erica recently posted..Paris, France: I Have the PLAGUE

  • November 13 2012

    I do love that my iPhone makes it easier for me to travel light (I have EVERYTHING I need on my iPhone, including a copy of my passport and other “official documents”) – but I am constantly working to disconnect from it and be more “in the moment”. Especially as a writer, I have a tendency to constantly want to document the moment at the very least. I think you’ll have a great head start after living so long without a smart phone!

    • November 14 2012

      I think so too Britt. And besides, we only have one, so if we each got addicted we’d also be fighting over it then too! We can keep each other in check. 🙂

  • Balanced Melting Pot
    November 13 2012

    No need to sell me on this phone, I already have one and I absolutely love it! I think the high megapixel camera sold me. I find myself taking so many more pictures now.

  • November 17 2012

    I can’t believe you went so many years without a phone! Color me impressed. I always have my international phone and then when in Thailand I also have my local throwaway phone.

    I am trying to be better about keeping them on silent and in my bag when I’m at dinner or otherwise engaged with an actual real live human!

  • It was really strange getting used to carrying a cell phone again. But I LOVE having Google Maps in my pocket.

    • November 18 2012

      We haven’t needed that yet, but I am sure we will!

  • November 21 2012

    Smart phones have changed the way I travel for sure…still not sure that it’s for the better some days…but I could never part with it! I love your title on this – I was doubled over laughing!

  • My only problem with Smart pHones is with the batteries.. I’m a heavy user and my iPhone is not lasting more than 4 hours of pictures and tweeting and instagram. Thinking seriously about changing soon…

    • November 28 2012

      I’ve heard that as a big complaint with the iPhone. We downloaded an app called “Juice Defender” for our Galaxy and it seems to be helping quite a bit.

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