Unplugged in New Orleans

I spent 3 nights and 4 days with nine of my fabulous girlfriends this past weekend to celebrate my upcoming nuptials. On the way to the airport, my smart phone had some fatal crashes and started removing apps and contacts on it’s own. My fiance was able to restore my contacts so that I could use my phone to make calls and send text messages while I was away. I didn’t have time to go and get a new phone before I left for the trip, so I just used my phone very minimally for the weekend.

It was actually really nice to not be tied to my phone all weekend. I was truly engaged and present with the people I was with. I didn’t miss my phone and left it in my hotel room most of the days. It wasn’t working well anyway and it was one more thing to worry about and carry along in the heat. I got a feeling of freedom from not being tied to my phone all weekend. I wasn’t able to take any photos or post any of my adventures on my social sites, but the other girls had that all covered, so I just really enjoyed the freedom of being unplugged.

We covered some serious ground and logged thousands of steps all weekend. For the most part, we saw New Orleans by foot and on the “Hop on, Hop off” tour bus we got tickets for. It was a great tour and we took advantage of the schedule and route to get to the parts of town we wanted to be in each day. It was a 3 day pass for $39, which also included FREE walking tours. That’s an amazing deal, if you ask me! I highly recommend you do this tour on your next trip to New Orleans.

When I got home, of course, I went right to the mobile store to get a new phone. I wasn’t thrilled about being forced to get a bigger phone, but the new phone is actually pretty amazing. It has more memory, more core power, is able to multi-task better than my old phone, can handle me playing music and doing another task at the same time…kind of awesome!  I’m sure I’ll get used to the larger size in no time.

Being unplugged and not tied to my phone all weekend did bring back memories of my younger days, when owning a cell phone was just for those who had a lot of money or who were Exec’s at Tech companies. I didn’t have my first real cell phone until about 15 years ago and even then I didn’t use it all that often and only took it with me on long car rides and in case of “emergencies”.  Wow, how the times have changes in such a short amount of time!

As a society, we have become so dependent on our smart phones that we may be missing out on important moments and things that are right in front of us. I am going to try to stay in a place where I continue to unplug when I’m with others, be it I’m out to dinner with friends, taking a walk or even just sitting on my couch watching TV.  I want to live now and be present in this time and I feel, for myself anyway, that when I’m on my phone, I’m not 100% in the moment or engaged. I hope you will join me to try to unplug a little bit each day and especially when spending time with those you love. Engage with them instead of the apps on your smart phone and enjoy the moments that are happening now that you will never be able to get back or repeat.

Check into Changing your Cell Phone Provider and you Could Save BIG!

#73 – If you are at the end of your cell phone contract or it’s more cost effective to terminate your contract early, you may want to check into switching from your current cell phone provider to a less expensive provider.  See my friend’s guest post below and think about doing what he did to save hundreds of dollars a year!

“I just switched to Virgin Mobile after years of loyalty to Verizon. But no more. To upgrade to a smartphone I would have had to purchase a minimum data plan for $30 a month on top of my $59.99 for unlimited text and 450 minutes. Sure 4G LTE sounds great, but not at $90/month plus taxes.  Add on the new Samsung Charge for $249 and you’re talking almost $1,350 for the first year for wireless phone service. That’s just insane. So, I bought the LG Optimus at Best Buy for $149 and now I get unlimited web, data and text. And since I barely talk on the phone this is only costing me just over $550 for the year with the $35/month plan. Virgin Mobile runs on the Sprint Network and so far I haven’t had any dropped calls or data interrupts. Seriously I can’t believe I waited this long. The LG has all the apps I want though the Android Market, including my personalized Pandora radio that I used to get pumped at the gym. And since I am still new to LA,  the Google Navigator GPS works like a charm. No more paper maps or wrong turns, or two-year contracts! I am hooked.”
If you’d like to compare plans or shop for phones online there are online companies that will do that for you or you can go to Bestbuy and purchase a new phone and plan on their website.  Some other online companies that will help you compare plans and phones are Let’s Talk and Wirefly.  So check out Virgin Moblie like my friend did or these other sites for the best deals on plans and that cool new Android phone with all the fun apps you’ve been wanting! 
Keep in mind that most cell phone companies have a return policy so during your return policy time-frame (it varies by provider) make sure you test your coverage at all of your regular hot spots…work, home, the gym, your favorite coffee shop, restaurants, bars and basically any where you may need to use your phone.  If the coverage isn’t good or your calls get dropped, you may want to cancel your new service and try a different one.  Switching providers is definitely something to look into though…you may be shocked to find out how much money you could save each year by doing this one thing.