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No Phone, New Life

The blessing of traveling without your phone

Going to college during the Sex in The City era and living across the street from Bloomingdale’s, I truly was a metropolitan. I was afforded the opportunity to work at creative agency in the field I would eventually grow my own company in. However, as a college student, I hardly had time for international travel. Being of Israeli descent, I observed all my cousins take youth hostel trips to Thailand after finishing the army and my peers from NYU and UC Santa Cruz take the post graduation backpack eurostar trip, the true right of passage into adulthood. I envied them so much. It was only recently when I started to attend fashion week in Paris and Milan and take corporate trips to Switzerland for luxury watch clients that I got the travel bug. The 74th item on my bucket list was travel to Europe with only a carry on and wake up each day to go wherever I deemed fit via Trip Advisor, EuroStar and my iPhone. The 75th item was to live in Paris during the summer in the 16th arrondissement and simply spend my days absorbing Parisian culture and my evenings working remotely off my terrace in my Peditarre.

Fast forward to summer 2017, the busiest summer of my career. I launched 3 chart topping albums for DJ Khaled, Steve Aoki and French Montana and was preparing for NY Fashion Week, my client Russell Westbrook become NBA MVP, and I launched a handful of social impact campaigns for education and prison reform – all before the end of July. Despite my hectic work life, I was able to carve out a week in August to slip away. I booked a round trip ticket from LAX to Charles de Gaulle for my daughter and I. I am an avid believer in cultural wealth beyond the United States. My idea was to relive what I missed as a college student, a spontaneous trip with only a round trip ticket. This was my version of the backpack, eurostar trip I never took. It was only in the international Admirals Club lounge that I decided to not meet my best friends in Ibiza or Steve Aoki in Croatia. I decided to commit myself entirely to two Italian cities and magical Paris, rather than hit Florence, Venice, Rome, and Positano as I had initially (and over ambitiously) desired to. I netted out with 3 days in Paris then Rome for 2 days, then off to Positano & Capri.

After booking my flights to Rome and using Hotel Tonight to book luxe rooms — my version of youth hostels — I wanted to keep my big girl pants on and figure out how to get to Positano on my own using only Trip Advisor. I opted for a morning train to Naples with a quick transfer to a local train to Sorrento. Naively, I placed my iPhone 7 into the outside pocket of my Goyard royal blue duffel (inspired by DJ Khaled) and ventured onto a local train in Naples that was packed tighter than sardines. Only three minutes passed before I reached for my phone to discover it was gone. My daughter and I got off the train at the first stop and found ourselves in an industrial neighborhood with no english speaking people in sight, no ubers, no taxis. After making our way back to Naples, I located an Apple reseller. Between the quiet hours of 2-4pm when no stores were open to buy a sim card, I purchased the most expensive iPhone SE to have data and drove off to Positano. From there I would find the one store that sold SIM cards in all of Positano, which opened only after 6pm and I purchased a very chic + 39 italian area code number. I chose one of those amazing cases that closes like a book. I bravely sent an email to my clients to let them know not to call, just email, but to have no fear — FYI would not miss a beat and the orchestra of brand building would not be slighted. I realized through this experience that I had to surrender 100 percent faith in the business I have created. I must have faith in the team I have chosen to step up in situations like this, and they did. For the remainder of my trip, 5 more days, my 917 number would be on pause, but the moments I was living in would become more valuable just focusing on myself and family.

Travel Tips I Hope to Inspire You With

  • I learned that operating a business like a bottleneck, in which everything must pass through one person, is not healthy and not effective. I can trust in my team and the choices I’ve made that have prepared me to delegate. This was a time to trust and I am proud to say I did just that.

  • Live by the three R’s Relax, Reset and Recharge involve disconnecting from electronics to connect in a more meaningful way than ever before.

  • Live in the moment, truly live in the beauty of where you are, and dedicate that one hour at the beginning and end of each day to get back to emails, clients and my team.

  • I learned to have faith in myself and my ability to time manage. I have always believed in myself but rarely let myself disconnect. I was forced to at this time, and I was able to time manage effectively on my terms and didn’t miss a beat!

  • I learned that not having a phone gave me a new life! Out of what felt like a tragedy came the best trip ever. I was able to appreciate the beauty of my trip in a way that I never would have with the heavy iPhone 7 stuck to my fingers everywhere I went.

  • Using an iPhone case that has a cover that closes like a book is genius. I hear Arianna’s voice in my head telling me to put my electronic items to bed at night. This is the best everyday way to disconnect on your own terms. Open and close that book as you please. Close the book to the phone and check into the real life that is right in front of you.

  • Have faith in the system you have built, practice time management, believe in yourself and have confidence that the world won’t fall apart during the 2 hour window you are in Capri sunbathing.

  • Pack a data only phone for travel with a case cover that closes like a book, so you can connect as needed only. This iPhone SE is the best investment ever. I will use this for travel from now on and only use my normal phone for when I am back at my hotel. Live life by your rules, don’t be governed by the rules of your phone. The 917 number can wait until you are back at your hotel…

No phone, new life!!! Best blessing ever 

Tammy Brook is an American businesswoman, entertainment, social impact, fashion and sports brand strategist, philanthropist and founder of FYI Brand Group. You can follow her on Instagram @tammyfyi and @fyibrandgroup

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