There's lots of things to do on an island. There's also lots of things to not do. Typically, I'm there for the not doing. I'm a man of leisure after all. But dang! Doing nothing is getting hard!
For the last week or two, I was on St. John. It's a U.S. territory which means that, among other things, normal AT&T data rates apply (unlike the much better named LIME network which covers most of the Caribbean but involves international roaming rates).
So your phone on St. John works exactly like it does at home. This makes it easy to check in on things. Stay on top of a few issues. Touch base to keep things moving while you're gone. It allows for travel in a way that wasn't remotely possible just a decade ago.
And that's a friggin' bummer bro!
Regular travelers know there are a number of ways to fine-tune the features on your phone: Only receive calls from certain people, eliminate all incoming data, etc. Feel free to Google the options (if you're a total nerd). For the rest of us, I recommend this:
Bring Limes Tech Tip!
- Go for a long morning hike to a beautiful area (e.g. Ram Head, Saint John, USVI).
- Take lots of unnecessarily selfies, in square, panorama, and video formats.
- Make your way back down to the water (e.g. Salt Pond Bay) where you've left a cache of snorkeling equipment.
- Wade into the water. Savor the coolness. Slip on your fins and mask.
- Decide where to snorkel: Reef or grass? Fish or turtles?
- Notice the clarity of the water. It's unbelievable. You'll never ever get used to it.
- Realize that your phone is in your pocket.
Phone problem solved!
Now here's a few pro tips if you're really looking to maximize your enjoyment of the above plan:
First, see if there's a primary provider of cell service on the island (in St. John it's AT&T). Then make sure the phone you're dunking is the only one in your group which uses that service (the rest of my family is with Verizon which won't help you at all on SJ.)
Second, go to an island where electricity, wifi, and cellular service are prone to random outages (which is to say, any island). This will limit your opportunities for alternative solutions.
And then... ENJOY!
Honestly, not having a phone was fantastic. Instead of calling ahead to see if a place was open, it required physically going there (like some kind of a caveman!) and talking to someone.
Weaving around one of the most beautiful places in the world, Jeep windows down, local radio at wild volume, shoes in the back (probably, who knows), old-school paper map flapping around. These are not bad things.
I'll admit that I did miss having a handy camera. And an infinite jukebox. And a flashlight. But that's all I missed. That was it. That was completely and entirely it.