Help! New Zealand Stole my Voice!
This post is ironically long overdue after numerous rewrites and delays; becoming somewhat of a fitting ‘return’ post after a 3 months gap in posting.
I’ve been writing on and off for maybe 8 years, mostly for myself, sometimes for others. I’ve used different platforms and my writing changed as much as my interests over the last decade. I don’t always find the time to write as much as I would like to, partly because life gets in the way, partly because I can be a little all over the place and then I have pick priorities and work (or school) tends to win that battle.
One time where I always write is when I travel. I guess that’s one of the perks of solo travel. Depending on where I go or the kind of trip I plan, I switch between my Mac Book and a good ‘ol notebook. I don’t always feel the need to bring my Mac and sometimes it just feels like taking unnecessary risks so I rely on a few pens and some paper.
My trip to Australia and New Zealand in the fall of 2009 was one of those “pen and paper” trips, which in a way I guess I’m thankful for. It wasn’t only the longest trip I had ever taken but it was also the one with the most commute. To put things into perspective, I took a total of 13 flights in 3 weeks. Granted, some of those were only layovers but it involved a lot of time in airports and planes nonetheless and it gave me the chance to do a lot of writing. I wrote blog posts, a travel journal (or actually I was adding to a journal that already included 2 other trips I had taken that year) and the beginning of what could have been a prequel of sorts to something I had already written in the past.
On my first night in Auckland though, while I was watching TV with a handful of other guests at the hostel, all the luggage in the room I was staying in was stolen. Not just my things of course; everyone else in the room ended up with nothing but the clothes on their back. My first thought when I realized all my belongings had been taken was how losing my passport 3 days before flying home was probably the worst thing that could have happened. (Looking back, keeping my passport with me obviously would have solved that problem). I then realized it also meant I had lost all the pictures I took, which really got to me because odds are I won’t be going to Australia a dozen times in my life and no matter what people say about putting the camera away to really enjoy a trip, pictures make great, lasting memories. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realized the writing I had done during those 3 weeks was gone and while that wasn’t the end of the world; things were fresh in my mind after all and I could always rewrite things, the fact that a perfect stranger stole the things I wrote made me feel violated. I wanted to rewrite my travel journal first as it seemed to be what was most important considering I didn’t have pictures anymore but I kept putting it off until it seemed simply odd to write a journal about a trip I’ve taken so long ago. The blog posts and other writing never got the rewriting treatment either; they simply disappeared along with my clothes, camera and the rest of my belongings.
I know for a fact those notebooks were probably among the first things thrown away by whoever stole my bags, it’s not like they are worth anything, but it’s the act behind it that makes it so tough for me to forget.
It took me months to start writing again and even that was sporadic, at best. My trip to Iceland last October was actually the first time I was getting any “serious” writing done. I know that the desire to write is still very much present but it’s as if what happened took a part of it away somehow and no matter how much time passes, it’s simply not coming back.
* This isn’t a pity party as I can think of about a thousand worse things that could have happened but it’s some sort of cheap therapy for me