On letting go

I’ve been thinking these last days about the importance of letting go.

One thing that caused this reflection was of course the loss my camera in the middle of October. To be fair, on this 500-day 39-country trip I have lost an uncountable number of physical objects. I forgot my fancy eyeglasses in a hotel in Los Angeles. I left my favourite winter jacket in a hostel in Adelaide. My big rolling bag broke several times – the wheels of the first bag broke in Tokyo, I bought a new one in Australia, this one broke in Fiji and Nepal and so I finally I bought a new (current) one in Andorra. I lost t-shirts and shoes and gloves and socks and underwear too many times to remember. I’ve lost or broke headphones at least six times (Bolivia, Chile, USA, Australia, Barcelona, Romania), lost or broke iPhone cables and chargers many times – first time in Peru, which rendered my iPhone inoperable for a month, other times in Nepal, in Armenia, in Italy.

Some of these losses were very easy to take. Others were upsetting. Paradoxically, the smaller losses sometimes felt a lot more exasperating. I would feel annoyed at myself for days on end because of losing my headphones, but would be just mildly surprised at realising the loss of eyeglasses which cost twenty times more. I’ve come to think that the best solution is the one that my boss suggested as I was leaving on the trip: “You lose something, you simply buy a replacement immediately”. Rather than dwelling on your mistake, you just accept the price, restore the item and move on.

It also helps to look at the bright side. Overall I have been very lucky on this trip in that avoided any physical injury, with one exception of crushing into a mountain in Bolivia. I’ve not had any security problems, again with one exception when we got attacked on a street at night in Bosnia. Nothing was stolen for me, again with one exception of my driving license in Vietnam. I’ve not had any problems with the police or the government, again with one exception when the border guards kept me detained for several hours in Fiji. I’ve not had any money access troubles, like credit card fraud or credit cards eaten by ATMs, the exception being when I forgot all my money, documents and credit cards in a hotel safe in Sardinia and only realised it in shock when I got to the next town. And my big three items – laptop, iPhone and camera – have survived unscathed and in good functioning order virtually during the whole massive trip. Now again with one exception.

But perhaps these exceptions are given to us to simply make us appreciate the rule?

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