The following post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow Alyson Cabeza.

Four months ago, I dropped my phone.

Now, this is not the first time I’ve dropped my phone. If we’re being completely honest, I dropped my phone the first day I got it.

However, this phone drop caused a uniquely difficult adjustment to my everyday routine. See, I was two hours away from my home in Vietnam when the drop happened. It was also raining. I also did not notice I had dropped my phone.

Here’s what happened: I decided to go to Ninh Bình province for two days. Not much was planned, especially since I had bought my train ticket only five hours before departure. One of the only things I did was book my hostel. So, I make it to Ninh Bình and with the help of my phone’s GPS, I managed to walk from the train station to the long, bumpy, dirt road that led to my hostel. During my walk, it began to rain. This wasn’t an issue (there are only a few things I love more than rain)… until it was. I tend to embrace rain, and so I began to run and jump in the puddles. After running and still not reaching my hostel, I decided to look at my phone to see how much farther I had to walk.

That’s when I noticed my phone was gone. I began to panic.

I ran back to the beginning of this long, bumpy, dirt road. I kicked into every single puddle to find my phone. While I continued to search for my phone, two giant trucks passed by. That is when I accepted the fact that if I did ever find my phone, it would be extremely damaged. Thirty minutes into the search, a local man (who lived on this road) tried to talk to me. We had an interesting conversation where neither of us completely understood the other. However, after a bit, he understood I was looking for something, and he helped me look. I eventually found my phone. I was right; my phone was no longer usable.

This happened months ago, but I still find it hilariously unbelievable.

I learned a lot during this short debacle. Without a working phone for a few weeks, I began to question many things – like, is social media actually making people less sociable? And why is it that people are judged based on whether their text message appears as blue (iPhone) or green (not iPhone)?

I won’t go into complete depth, but living without a phone helped me recognize that so many of us have become reliant on something so small. It allowed me to realize how much of my time I spent on social media which, compared to now, was A LOT. I also realized I needed to pay more attention to my surroundings. Without a phone, I became more involved in the conversations I was having. I stopped taking my big bag and became content leaving the apartment with just myself.

So, while breaking my phone wasn’t ideal (it was something I hated, I cried), I think it was something I needed as I continue this year of growth.

Note: There is only one picture included in this blog. Without a phone, I was unable to take pictures of this breath-taking province. The feature image is the only picture I took (and managed to save) before the fateful drop.