Same Same but Different

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This day holds a lot of weight for me – January 21st. I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason and that no matter what, everything does come full circle. Loose ends tie up and coincidences don’t exist. It’s hard to imagine that a year ago I was a delusional traveler, thinking the world was mine, laughing in the face of danger.  Life decided it was time to test me, and just like that I was stripped of everything that was worth anything to me. All it took was an overconfident me ignoring every warning sign in my gut and a skilled pair of thieves trying to make it in an overpopulated Thai city. A tuk-tuk ride and a vicious snatch resulted in pure disbelief. Did those men really just zoom away with my entire purse?! Camera, iPhone, money, every piece of ID I had, passport – doesn’t this only happen to people you read about and laugh at because who is actually stupid enough to carry everything on them? Why I felt my SIN card would come in handy in South East Asia is beyond me.  My years of traveling made me scoff at money belts, judge those who lost things, and gave me an unreasonable amount of cockiness.
It was such a dizzying feeling, knowing that my purse contents were most likely already being sold in underground markets somewhere and my identity was quickly being turned into a way out for a nice Thai girl. After the initial shock wore off and I continued my travels (lighter in my hands, but heavier in my heart), I oddly began to feel a sense of liberation. I didn’t miss my cellphone, and for someone who has dedicated a blog to photography, I almost felt relieved without my camera. I was focused on just taking it in, rather than scrambling to get the best picture. We’re so weighed down by physical things that we kind of forget to live in the moment. So much of traveling and life has become sharing on social media, and only when we’re satisfied with the number of likes a picture gets do we feel as though what we’re doing is cool. I thought back to a week before in Cambodia, and how the best moments I had were the ones I didn’t document. The tuk-tuk ride to Angkor Wat at 4 am for the sunrise, waiting with a hushed crowd for the first rays of dawn to come up over the temple, being serenaded in Khmer by our hostel owners as a special birthday treat, hitting up seaside hut parties and finding a secret path to a virtually untouched beach, trusting a Cambodian man to get us over the border into Thailand faster than the officials. None of that was documented, but the snapshots are forever in my head.
Then I started to think about my life, and how I’ve noticed that my karma is immediate. If I do something wrong, I am reprimanded a few days later, and similarly, I’m quickly rewarded for good behaviour.  There is no waiting for my next life.  Losing my stuff was almost a positive. It was cleansing, and one that was needed.  Almost all the contents were attached to someone, who on this day exactly two years ago made me realize a lot about life and love. While I mourned a loss that day, a year later, sitting in a Thai police station, I mourned again. But I think it was life’s way of telling me to finally start fresh. The purse was gone and therefore the connection to that person had faded.  Just let it go. The test results were in – did that confident traveler exist underneath the facade? She was there. Not without the help of her faithful friends and still a little fragile, but she was there.   Wiser, humbler, and secure in the fact that karma had come full circle and closed an end that was frayed too long.

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