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Travel Adventures in the Lost and Found

February 13, 2008

You can’t take a major vacation and come back with everything you left with. Money, travel-sized tubes of toothpaste, a pair of sunglasses, and the feeling people in other countries are somehow foreign and therefore people you have nothing in common with, should all disappear within the first week. Blisters, beer coasters from assorted funky pubs, and a sense of fellowship with your fellow travelers and human beings should take their place.

I’m sure I’ve lost plenty of things while traveling, but for some reason the only thing that I clearly remember losing, and that I’m still mad about, is a pair of black flip-flops that got left behind in a hostel in New Zealand. Queenstown I think. Actually, only one was left behind… fade to black, begin nostalgic music and hazy dream sequence here…

QueenstownIt was a chilly Spring day. I was up early for a 6 a.m. bus departure and trying to quietly pack the last of my things and get dressed. I went out to brush my teeth and when I came back in the dorm room I tripped over a boulder-sized backpack that some jerk had left laying in the middle of the floor. One flip was still firmly on my left foot, but the right flop was gone. I looked all over, under the jerk’s bed, around the backpack of doom, I knew it couldn’t have gone far, but without turning on the lights and waking up eight other people, I couldn’t find it.

My knees were bruised and scuffed from my fall, but still I crawled around, hoping against hope to find the cheap but reliable footwear that had carried me over much of Australia’s Sunshine Coast and around the Kiwi’s South Island, and gallantly protected me from sticking to many a pub floor. It had served me well, and I was sad to think that my poor lone flipop would be tossed out with the rubbish, or just pushed from one side of the room to the other as assorted backpackers said, “Ugh, not mine” and left it for someone else.

I lost good things though too, including my inhibition regarding dancing on tables and my fear of flying in helicopters. And I had plenty of chances to say, “Well I’ve never done that before,” which is another purpose travel serves, giving us opportunities to challenge ourselves. I suppose one rubber thong isn’t a bad price to pay for all that.

And now I’ll head over to Travel CUTS (the people there really are cool, I swear) and see what kind of sales they’re having. I have friends in Japan, England, Germany, and France right now, and Spring is just around the corner. Could destiny be any clearer?

3 comments

  1. I remember losing handkerchiefs on ALL my trips abroad, which isn’t that too big a deal. When we travel, we loose ourselves and also find ourselves again the process.


  2. Exactly. What’s a few missing socks when you’ve found new friends and experiences?


  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a few things during my travels. However my biggest problem is acquiring too much stuff whenever I go someplace new. LOL.



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