The Universe Took My Phone In Tel Aviv, and I’m Thankful It Did

I’m without my phone for a week in Tel Aviv, the final week of my 3.5 month summer journey. Yesterday, after an early morning swim in the sea, I returned to the beach to find my wallet and phone stolen from my pants.

For hours I was full of self-loathing and overwhelm for making such a dumb move. Life has a funny way of testing us; it’ll put us through moments, experiences and lessons that perhaps will take years to understand their significance.

But something tells me this happened for a reason, and one day, I believe I’ll look back with nothing but thanks for the universe taking my precious device.

Having no phone is already changing me — no maps, no social media, no dating apps — it’s just me. Today, I feel enlightened.

A pressure has been lifted, the pressure to be, to do, to capture every interesting moment in pictures and words jotted in my phone’s notes. To post those pictures and words on Instagram.

Honestly, I love to do so. But there’s no doubt the constant connection to my phone takes from the genuine experience of being.

A memento of travel which binds every adventurous soul through all of time is experiencing a different way of life and changing in effect.

This is the true gift of travel, and perhaps losing my phone will prove vital to my growth as a human and a writer.

As the French philosopher Michel de Montaigne declares:

And I know no better school of life, as I have said so often, than that which reveals the way others live their lives.

I imagine writers, explorers, heroes of the past, everyday grandmothers and grandfathers throughout history who exude the wisdom of a sage. What gives them that wisdom, that felt sense of knowledge and assurance?

Nothing more than the journey of life.

I imagine it’s the year 1284, 1589, 1837, 1952 — I could be at the same beachfront cafe here in Tel Aviv, listening to the music and watching a group of gentleman play a game of cards on the boardwalk.

A traveler of of the past might sit here with a journal and write. Not just to describe the experience; not to post it somewhere or even to write a book — they’d write to understand how this experience is changing them.

Pen to paper, experience upon the soul, the breeze against my skin, nothing but absolute gratitude for this moment in time.

Last night I went on a beach run to shake off the mishap as the sun was setting. The sky was unbelievable, cloudy and full of warmth and deepening color. At the end of the run, I reached the jetty and jumped in the water, possibly the warmest water I’ve ever swam in.

The beauty of it all was overwhelming — both of the natural surroundings and of the inspiration rising from the ashes of my mistake.

The ancient city of Jaffa sits prominently in the distance. The 17th-century Al-Bahr Mosque looks over the immemorial port and glassy sea. The mosque is covered in a purple film, a subtle, perceptible haze which gives the landscape a certain evening magic.

There are two girls stand up paddle boarding, and I figure I have nothing to lose at this point. Time to live.

We make a connection and have a good time, ending up exchanging info written with a pen on a plastic napkin wrapper. Something about it felt so right; this is when I feel I’m at my best, having fun, being light, flirting with life.

The moral of the story is this lack of phone will hopefully make me be more bold in everyday life. It will make me seek other ways of doing things, perhaps, a return to the way things have always been done before we all adopted a second life on the screen.

I guess I’m gonna need a map.

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