Navigating Europe...Without an iPhone?!

In the first 10 days now that I've lived in Copenhagen, I've been without wi-fi in my room and have been navigating the streets without a data plan on my iPhone. Now, if you would have read that sentence to me in the time before I left to go abroad, I would have probably had something close to a panic attack. Besides being very directionally challenged, and I mean very, I am also a huge fan of reading blogs and am borderline obsessed with Instagram. Admittedly I was a little wary the first few days of not being totally connected and in the know, but have started to realize all of the benefits it has created in turn. IMG_6482

The most powerful benefit to being "unplugged" has been to work on my navigation and mapping skills. I'll be the first to tell you that I couldn't point out north or south to someone even if my life depended on it, but I think in the last few years I have been using my trusty iPhone maps as a crutch. I had forgotten that I was actually quite good at getting myself to a destination with a tangible paper map and pen in hand.

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Today I drew out this route before leaving campus because my Danish class had a cafe night at a local restaurant called Kaffesalonen. My friend and I headed out and I got us to our destination on our own without getting lost once. Arriving at the cafe both on-time and with confidence was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in a while. It also encouraged me to look out for street names, and in turn, notice more of my surroundings. Then when it was time to head home and my friend and I parted ways, I was able to get back to my metro stop without needing to check my map.

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Now, I may be more interested in this phenomena than the average person because I am currently in urban design theory + urban journal classes, but I wanted to encourage you to try this challenge out for yourself, even with a perfectly functioning data plan in hand. You might be surprised at what looking up from your glitchy smartphone map can do to change your perspective.

Will I live in another country for 9 months without Internet in my apartment? Of course not. I would miss talking to my family and friends at home terribly. But, these first few weeks have taught me something invaluable, and who knows, I just may never sign up for a Danish data plan on my iPhone!

Is this something you would like to try? Happy travels and good luck! x. Paige