My run-down old campervan in Australia
The worst thing that happened while I was travelling
I spent nearly two years traveling around Southeast Asia and Australia, and I was really lucky. Almost nothing went wrong.
I never got seriously ill or got robbed. I never ran out of money or had to spend the night sleeping on the street. No broken bones or arrests were made. Two of my cameras were stolen, but they replaced them right away so it didn’t ruin my trip.
In some ways, the worst thing that happened to me during my trip was far worse than having my expensive belongings stolen.
I lost my journal.
I’m a bit of an old-fashioned kind of girl, and I love nothing more than sitting down at the end of the day with a cold beer, a journal, and a pen. It’s a bit contradictory that a blogger prefers to write a personal diary, but there’s something about paper and pen that allows her thoughts to flow freely and words to come back easily.
I write down things I didn’t even know I was thinking until the words stared at me from the page. When you look back on that day, you see it in a completely different way, it has meaning, and your thoughts start to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw. Moments that pass by and seem insignificant suddenly seem important and special.
I hope you get the gist. I like writing in a diary.
When I arrived in Australia I bought myself a new diary with hundreds of blank pages waiting to be filled with my adventures.
Every day I took some time for myself and wrote down everything that was on my mind. Sometimes I wrote out a neat piece of poetic prose, other times I scribbled down some thoughts while riding in the passenger seat of a camper. Sometimes, when I managed to get the words “too hungover to think” under control, I would realize that the previous night was full of beach parties and lots of booze.
By the end of the year, I had filled out all the pages and took the diary to the post office to send it home. I wrapped it carefully and wrote my familiar home address all over the envelope. It was a short address that brought back warm and happy memories. As an old lady, I was already looking forward to reading this diary while reliving my adventures in Australia.
“I’d like to mail this to England, please,” I said to the woman behind the desk.
She weighed it on an old scale, no different from the one her grandmother used to bake.
“It’s $23,” she said proudly.
23 dollars! 23 Australian dollars. I’m sure you’re smiling, girl! I bought a few boxes of wine and still had change left over for $23!
So instead of paying a little money and sending home all my memories, all my thoughts, all my highs, all my depressions, all my excitement, all my happiness, I decided to stuff my diary in the bottom of my backpack. Did. I hope the rest of your journey is safe.
I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next.
A few months later, while relaxing in Bali, I realized I hadn’t looked at my diary in a while. I quickly emptied my backpack and the backpacks of all my travel companions. I threw my clothes, shoes, books, and bags around the guesthouse. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. It must be hiding somewhere.
But when you have less, it doesn’t take long to realize something is missing.
I don’t know when, where or how I lost it, but all I knew was that I would never see it again. In the last few months I have traveled to 5 different countries, stayed in countless guesthouses (I saw lovely Venetian blinds in several places), and taken countless buses and trains, I packed and unpacked my backpack many times. It could literally be anywhere.
I was upset at the time, but not really devastated. My memory was still fresh and clear. I was still having the best time of my life. I didn’t need a diary to remember that.
But now, almost a year later, those perfect memories are becoming a foggy mist, like the last bits of a drunken memory or dream.
Time to relax in Oz (before the tide comes in!)
I’m currently going through all my photos and vague memories to write about my time in Oz. I bring you stories, tips, photos, and everything I can remember about living, working, and traveling in one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.
If I’ve learned anything from this experience, it’s that memories are some of the most important things we have.
I don’t usually hate you, but I found this quote that I love:
“Our memories are the only paradise from which we are never banished.” Jean Paul Richter
“Save your memories. They’re all you have left.” Paul Simon.
Have you ever lost something important while traveling? And how can you make sure you remember everything while traveling?