I always forget something. Every time I leave a place, something gets left behind. Is it an unconscious ritual that helps me to let go? Or should I feel concerned? I prefer to see the positive side: I never forget my passport, cash, credit cards, my father’s ring or my laptop. Nor do I ever leave my suitcase anywhere, not even in Berlin. But I do have an electric toothbrush in Athens – if the hotel has kept it for me – and headphones in London. Sadly, I also have a notebook in Bucharest and a charger cable each in Cape Town, Paris and Istanbul. My Ray-Bans distributed themselves across the planet until I stopped buying replacements. And yet I adored them, especially their polarizing effect – they create such an air of Hollywood, no matter where you are. But enough is enough.
Does that apply to my cell phone, too, I asked myself when, boarding card in hand and baggage checked, I was about to send a message home but found that I could not. Should I lament or rejoice? Could I take the plunge into freedom? Or should I cancel my return flight until my constant accessibility has been reinstated? How often, after all, has that phone saved my bacon? And how often has it irritated me? Haven’t I always reacted to calls from home the way you do when a commercial break interrupts the exciting movie you’re trying to watch? With a smile on my face, I walked toward the security checkpoint, and was almost grinning ear to ear by the time I showed my passport. That was three days ago, and what can I tell you? I’m doing fine because these days, when someone calls me, my cell phone rings 6800 kilometers away.
Our columnist, Helge Timmerberg, an irrepressible globetrotter since 1969, writes travel books and contributes monthly to our magazine.