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Travel memories: The best souvenirs we have

Travel memories: The best souvenirs we have

My battered old campervan in Australia

The worst thing that happened while I was travelling

I spent nearly 2 years travelling through SE Asia and Australia and I was actually really lucky – barely anything went wrong.

I was never disastrously ill or mugged. I never ran out of money or had to spend a night sleeping on the streets. I didn’t break any bones or get arrested. I did have two cameras stolen but they were quickly replaced and it was nothing that could ruin my trip.

The worst thing that happened while I was travelling was in some ways far worse than having 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 an ice cold beer, my journal and a pen. It’s a bit of a contradiction for a blogger to prefer writing a private journal but there’s something about paper and pen that makes my thoughts flow freely and the words come with ease.

I write things down that I didn’t even know I was thinking until the words are staring at me from the page. I can look back on the day and see it in a completely different way, a way that makes sense and makes my thoughts slot together like the pieces of a jigsaw. Passing moments that seemed inconsequential suddenly seem important and special.

So I think you get the point; I like to write a journal.

When I arrived in Australia I bought myself a new journal with hundreds of blank pages waiting to be filled with my adventures.

Every day I’d take some time to myself and scribble down everything that was in my head. Sometimes I’d neatly write out some poetic prose, other times I’d scrawl a few thoughts while bumping along in the passenger seat of our campervan. Sometimes I’d just about manage the words ‘Too hungover to think’ and I’d know that the previous night had been filled with beach parties and bags of goon.

By the end of a year I’d filled every page and took my journal to the post office to send home. I wrapped it carefully and wrote my familiar home address across the envelope – a short address that brought back warm and happy memories.  I was already looking forward to reading the journal as an old lady, reliving my Aussie Adventures.

“I’d like to post this to the UK, please,” I told the lady behind the desk.

She weighed it on some old scales, not dissimilar to the ones my grandma had used for baking.

“That’s $23,” she announced proudly.

Twenty-three dollars! Twenty-three Australian dollars. You must be having a laugh, lady! I could buy a few boxes of wine and still have change left over from $23!

So instead of paying the measly amount to send home all of my memories, all of my thoughts, all the highs, all the lows, all the excitement and all the happiness, I decided to pack my journal at the bottom of my backpack where would be safe for the remainder of my journey.

I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next.

A few months later while relaxing in Bali, I realised that I hasn’t seen my journal for a while. I quickly emptied the contents of my backpack and all my travel companions’ backpacks too. I threw clothes, shoes, books and bags around my guest house, sure it must be somewhere. It must be hiding somewhere.

But when you have so few possessions it doesn’t take long to realise when something is gone.

I don’t know when, where or how I lost it, all I knew was that I would never see it again. I’d travelled through five different countries in those 2-3 months, stayed in countless guesthouses (saw some nice Venetian Blinds in some places), travelled on countless buses and trains, packed and unpacked my backpack countless times. It could literally be anywhere.

I was upset at the time but not particularly devastated. My memories were still fresh and clear. I was still having the time of my life; I didn’t need a journal to remind me of that.

But now, almost a year on, those perfect memories are becoming a foggy haze, like a drunken memory or the finals wisps of a dream.

Taking time to chill out in Oz (quickly before the tide comes in!)

I’m now scouring every photo and hazy memory to write about my time in Oz. I’ll be bringing you stories, tips and photos and everything I can remember about living, working and travelling in one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever visited.

If I learnt anything from this experience, it’s that memories are one of the most important things we have.

I don’t usually get soppy on you but I found these quotes that I love:

Our memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled.” Jean Paul Richter

Preserve your memories. They’re all that’s left you.” Paul Simon.

Have you ever lost anything important while travelling? And how to you make sure you remember everything while you’re travelling?


Friday 9th of May 2014

Did not lose anything while travelling. I converted my wardrobe into a storage of souvenirs i collected from more than 50 countries. Its always closed and i discovered last winter that the storage also had served as hangout for mice. I had to clean up dry mice wastes etc. Luckily my stuff were sealed in boxes so im hoping the wastes did not sip through any of them. But the image in my mind of mice stumping and strolling around on top of these boxes horrified me and made me feel some sort of depression for a while.

Matthew Hutchins

Wednesday 27th of June 2012

Great post just found your site, can't wait to read more.

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