Get Off Your Phone!

Johnna Hawyard headshot
Johnna Hayward
March 21, 2019

There’s one thing that the millennial generation can often unanimously agree on: our fingers are glued to our phones. It’s entirely apparent that today, the world is based around technology. This of course has its positives, but it also comes with an abundance of negatives.

Context: When I first arrived in Spain, I chose to not purchase a SIM card and it was the best decision I have made by far.

Of course, you need to be able to stay in contact with your friends and family. That’s a must. But there’s an alternative option to having “standard” phone service. In January, I purchased a 4-month international phone plan for my time abroad. It has a very small amount of monthly data and minutes, meaning that my phone service can only be used for directions and occasional phone calls without Wifi. That’s about it.

But why is it necessary to stay off of your phone while traveling the world? I’ll give you a few solid reasons that truly can’t be argued…

1. Live in the moment.

Sure, taking pictures is great. And of course, you should! But it’s important to find the right balance. When your time abroad is over you won’t want to remember the world through your phone screen. Years from now the experiences you have will be so much more meaningful. The pictures you take should simply stand as a reflection and visualization of your memories. Don’t get so caught up in trying to capture the perfect picture that you miss out on the opportunity to take in what’s right in front of you.

2. Meet new people.

First and foremost, make sure to stay in contact with your family and friends back home. They’re all excited to hear from you! But a big reason why you decided to travel abroad was to meet new people. How are you supposed to branch out and find new friends if you’re glued to your phone? We all know how uncomfortable it is to try and talk to someone who’s too distracted by their digital screen. Set the right example and put your phone away! You’ll be surprised by how many people follow your lead.

3. Social media isn’t everything.

Don’t worry, Facebook isn’t going anywhere, and your Instagram story can wait. Traveling internationally doesn’t equate to posting on social media every 30 seconds. Let the digital world go! If you have to, delete your social media apps for a while. Take a break from the internet. Why does it seem like everyone who’s abroad is competing to have the most or the best social media posts? Don’t fall into the trap.

All in all, not having my eyes glued to my phone for the last three months has been a huge relief. I have zero regrets. Make the more difficult and uncommon choice. Detach yourself from technology. Soak in all that the real world in front of you has to offer. You won’t regret it!

Until next time!


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All incorporated pictures are original content that I have photographed! To see more visit:

Johnna Hawyard headshot

Johnna Hayward

<p class="MsoBodyText" style="margin-top:.4pt; margin-right:14.7pt; margin-bottom:.0001pt; margin-left:5.5pt"><span style="line-height:103%">Hiya! My name is Johnna (pronounced John-na). I am from Peekskill, NY (about 45 minutes north of Manhattan) and I will be graduating from Penn State in December! I’m a marketing major with strong passions related to sports and nonprofit efforts. In my free time I take weekly yoga classes and enjoy capturing Penn State’s beautiful campus through my iPhone camera lens. Lastly, traveling is a huge passion of mine and I am thrilled for the experience that I am about to embark on in Barcelona!</span></p>

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