In the spring of 2015, on a three-week trip to Paris and the British Isles, I took my new Samsung Galaxy S6. I was able to use Facebook, respond to emails, telephone my sister in Washington State, locate restaurants—just about anything I wanted, with very few problems.

Of course, during the time I was on a cruise ship, Internet was spotty. My location didn’t update often. According to my phone, I spent days in the Welsh port of Ayr. But in the major cities, I had no service problems. It was all wonderful, but I kept thinking back nostalgically to previous travel experiences with my old phones.

When I got my very first smart phone, an HTC Android phone, I was thrilled with all the wonderful things I could do. But everything got more exciting when it developed wanderlust.

I rushed around excitedly sharing the news with colleagues: ‘Look, I’m in Bogotá!'”

The first journey was sometime in the winter of 2010. I was at the school in Los Angeles where I taught, on my way out to recess. I picked up my phone. Imagine my surprise when the phone showed I was in Bogotá, Colombia, where, the phone said, it was cold and rainy. I rushed around excitedly sharing the news with colleagues: “Look, I’m in Bogotá!”

The next voyage came in the spring of 2011. The phone said I was in Irkutsk. I was pleased I even knew where to find it on a map. (It’s in eastern Siberia, not far from Lake Baikal.) While in LA there was sunshine, the phone said it was raining and chilly in Irkutsk.

On August 3, 2011, I looked at my phone to find I was in Rostov-on-Don. The temperature was 60, but of course it was night. I wondered at the time: why two Russian destinations? Rostov is southern Russia’s largest city, near the Black Sea, the gateway to the Northern Caucasus Mountains.

Since my cell service was with Verizon, I visited their store to ask if they knew of anyone else with a phone so obsessed with foreign travel. They were mildly amused but said that they were unfamiliar with other cases and had no explanation for my phone’s wanderings.

My phone clearly had an affinity for Russia. On a cruise in South America in December 2013, it almost exclusively told me I was in St. Petersburg, in the far European west of Russia on the Gulf of Finland. The time in St. Petersburg is 12 hours ahead of the time in Los Angeles. On my trip, of course, I was nowhere near either time zone but traveling in and out of two or three in the Southern Hemisphere.

One evening the phone told me I was in La Rochelle, France, and on another evening I was in Naples, Italy.”

Frequently, my phone told me the weather conditions in St. Petersburg, usually cold and rainy or mixed rain and snow. This was refreshing when I was experiencing 90 degrees in Rio de Janeiro, less so when the weather in Ushuaia, Argentina, was cold and stormy.

One evening the phone told me I was in La Rochelle, France, and on another evening I was in Naples, Italy.

But always it returned to St. Petersburg. On the final day of our trip, in transit in the airport in Panama City, I checked the phone again. I was still in St. Petersburg, and the weather was described with a single word: dreary. How poetic!

On my return, my phone was indecisive. Occasionally it would place me in Los Osos, where I live now. Usually, it was just California. Sometimes, maybe to thwart NSA surveillance after all that wandering in Russia, it just let me know I was in my “Current Location.” I decided that there was a certain Zen quality to my phone. It was telling me, “You are where you are. Accept it and be in the moment.”

As I said initially, I no longer own an HTC phone, nor is my carrier Verizon. I don’t know whether it’s the change in phone or carrier or the greater precision of today’s phones. But my phone no longer travels to distant places, nor does it practice Zen. It always seems to tell me exactly where I am.

Alas, the romance is gone.

:: Juliane McAdam