Travel has it’s ups and downs, and I’ve promised to write about it all.
This one’s definitely a down.
I lost a bag in Toronto. It was small, but it was very important to me. It happened on the very last day of my solo trip to the faux-capital; in a moment of complete absentmindedness, I locked up my bike and walked off, leaving my bag in the basket. When I realised and went back roughly 20 minutes later, it was long gone.
In that bag, I had:
– My tablet. Worth about 200 bucks, it also had a sim card slot and was the back up for my broken phone. With it, I lost my songs library and countless old photos, my ability to message my family on WhatsApp or update my Instagram, and the app I used to tune the guitar. It was a very useful tool.
– My diary. I used it to plan my life and make sure I didn’t forget anything. With it, I lost 50 US dollars, my printed out flights/itinerary, and a few personal letters; all of which I’d tucked away in the back of the diary.
– My journal, with the tiny little envelope I’d tucked into the back. With it, I lost 6 months worth of personal thoughts and reflections. These were experiences so emotionally intense or significant that they had to be let out of my head. And what a pivotal 6 months it had been; the journal entries that I’d written during summer camp alone were probably some of the most raw and honest things I’d ever admitted to myself. I’d planned on writing blog articles based on my journal entries, but now I’ll never have the chance to go back and read over it all, and see how I’ve changed as a person.
And in that little envelope were the nice little notes that fellow counsellors from CHB had written me, notes that I’d planned on reading once I’d landed back in Australia.
I think losing my journal hurts the most.
– My gloves. And it’s just started snowing again.
– A note book and some pens.
– A few random trinkets that I’d bought in Toronto.
– The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a novel that I had borrowed from a friend.
When I realised that it was gone, I was absolutely devastated. How could I have been so stupid? How hard would it have been to glance back and grab my precious bag? The moment played itself over and over in my head, and I was engulfed by how helpless I was to change it. It felt impossible to move on from. I went from fear of not finding it when I went back, to dismay at realising it was gone, to anger at myself for letting it happen, to an unbridled frustration at there being absolutely nothing I could do about it. Despair, anguish, disappointment and confusion, all rushing through me in turn as I walked around, hating myself for having let it happen.
Then came the excruciating process of repeatedly reaching for something only to realise that I’d lost it with the bag. I was hit with the bitterly ironic realisation that I’d need my tablet to be able to tell my family about my lost tablet. (I’ve thankfully since worked out other ways of communication). When I realised that I’d also lost my friend’s book, I had to message her to let her know what had happened – and I was finally overwhelmed by all of the emotion.
There I was, sitting in an ice cream shop struggling to fight back tears, lest someone ask what was wrong. It would only have prompted another whirlwind of emotion, and the additional shame of being caught crying in public. (I don’t think that is something I’ll ever feel comfortable doing, it’s just not socially OK for men. I’ve openly cried twice in my adult life, and only because it became impossible to hold back. It wasn’t pretty the first time, and it was somehow even worse for the second).
I beat myself up about this for days afterwards, and I still now hate the fact that I only have myself to blame. I didn’t mean to, and it was just a tiny little mistake – but there’s nothing I can do about it. I hate that it feels so out of my control, that if it were up to me I would never make such simple mistakes. But it really isn’t.
I’m only human. To me, that means that I am at the mercy of my temperament, the way I was created or born. Despite my best efforts, there is just so much in life that I have no control over. As scary as it is to say, I believe that that applies just as much to many of the things I do, feel or say.
They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but I think that that is complete bullshit. I was an emotional wreck. Even now, I’m incredibly paranoid and pat my pockets every few seconds in case I’ve left my phone or wallet on a bench without realising. This sort of paranoia spreads to other things, and I just don’t trust myself anymore.
But above it all stands one prominent thought: thank fuck I didn’t lose my passport. This isn’t me trying to look on the bright side or find a silver lining – it’s simply a thought that helped to put my mind at ease. I lost some irreplaceable things; but I did not lose anything that I cannot live without, or anything that would stop me from completing my travels and getting back home. I still wish so hard that it never happened, that my trip to Toronto wasn’t tainted by something so trivial – but alas, I must accept it.
As I’ve said before, travel is always going to lead you through triumphant highs and devestating lows; I’m glad to have survived this trough well enough. To whomever has my stuff; wipe the tablet clean and sell it, keep the gloves and the cash, enjoy the book, and burn the rest.
This nomad is moving on.