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Yes. Send an email to the phone's SMS email address. Forex, since I am on Verizon, my SMS email address is email@example.com . An email to that address will be scooped up by an SMS gateway and translated into an SMS message. A list of SMS email address formats may be found at http://www.emailtextmessages.com/ .
First of all; backup your important data. You can do this from the terminal with a simple cp command. Usually your data and personal settings are saved in your home folder (e.g. /home/username/). You can use cp -a to backup your home folder to an external drive (see man cp). Preferably, the external drive should have a Linux file system too (e.g. ext4), ...
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