iPhone FOMO

Learnings of a forced tech detox

If you have the pleasure of knowing me, you would be aware a good memory doesn’t fall under this certain walking collection of characteristics.  In January during a girls trip to Thailand I lost my phone, better known as my right hand man or my… Soulmate.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking, how on Earth does a human, a human who so highly values her ability to connect to the online world, lose such an item. Sure, I have a bad memory, but even this was a huge coup for me.

The answer? Well, the answer was comprised three facets which together generated the ultimate ‘well what were you thinking’ end scenario:  

1.         Attendance of the renowned Koh Phanangan Beach party 

2.         Excessive consumption of ‘buckets’* 

3.         And a final touch of mild short term memory loss, a phone, and no bag 

*A small pail, identical to those used as a small child on the beach, however the usual content of sand is replaced by 8 standard alcoholic drinks. Straw Optional. Average price: 4 Australian Dollars. 

So, it was ‘bye felicia’ to my phone and hello to a tech-free holiday. This was a situation one should not have been complaining about; how fortunate was I to even be there in the first place! But for a native to the digital world my thought process was illogical, and a serious funeral was looming.  

Once on the water taxi to our next location I wondered if the trip would be the same. If my experience would be lesser now that I couldn’t capture it in a physical form. A friend of mine gave me a mandala to colour in, compelling the tragic issue of my lost phone to take a quick intermission, however the fact I was 90% still intoxicated was perhaps my biggest saviour. Colouring away, happy as a lark (side note: how do we know larks are actually happy, they can’t talk, we don’t know their story) my inconsiderate friend Sophie began to snore (seriously, what a bitch), similarly to what I assume a 60 year old fat man would sound like. And it was then as I went to go reach for my phone to Snapchat this female phenomenon that the reality of the situation sunk in. 

According to the principles of the modern parable, “pics or it didn’t happen”, I was left pondering whether anyone would believe that Sophie really could be a reincarnation of the BFG [when asleep]? Worse yet, would anyone believe the beautiful locations or adventures we would soon experience now that I couldn’t ambitiously chronicle them through various social outlets? And even still… would I have the same overall experience as my friends and their online presences? This thought process in itself was alarming, as my angst wasn’t linked to capturing images to later show my family or reminisce on (although this was a contributing factor), it mainly revolved around my sudden absence online. 

This, my friends, was the revelation I so dearly needed to acknowledge my slavery to the social networking world, and it was time to put a #STAHP to this documentation addiction. 

Snapchatting a picture of a roadside stall instead became a wave and interaction with the seller (I now have a husband whom is the proud owner of a pineapple cart in Phi Phi). Scrolling through the Instagram feed whilst sitting on an 8 hr barge was replaced with observation of other international travellers. Uploading a photo of the sunset to Facebook progressed into focusing solely on that moment with company. And it was as I watched that sunset that I realized that I was with the very people who command these rare moments which leave me entirely disinterested in alternate, outside worlds. A realization that my true happiness is a grander attestation to the idea of subjugation that often arises as an outcome of the social networks that beguilingly defines who we are. 

I’m not promoting the abandonment of these online connections, they’re valuable in their own right and like old mate Nickleback proposes, it is fun to share a photograph with society and look back and laugh. But you have got to know when to be present, and remind youself of it. Give a tech detox a go (just maybe don’t leave your iPhone on a beach) and next time you’re out to dinner with your friends, go on aeroplane mode. Or, if you’re feeling crazy, TURN IT OFF!!!! 


I’m not saying I’m some tech free teen who has gone through some Eat Pray Love shit that has changed her forever. Quite the contrary; I still love a good snapstory (@cathycoll self promo!!!) and a frequent insta upload, however I feel as though I could lose my phone all over again (and let’s be honest I’m counting down the days till I do) and I would almost enjoy it. 

Bar the financial aspect. 


Stay sassy, 

Catherine Collins