The things I lost

While traveling in Morocco I have lost 2 debit cards, $90, a wallet, a drivers license, an iPhone 4, a student ID, a passport and all but a shred of dignity. Wether these things were stolen or lost they are gone. At first glance this list is substantial, and when compiled I felt like I should have just been sent home and put out of my misery.

I spent a while feeling this way. Each time I lost something I would promise myself It was the last time. And when it eventually occurred again I would only affirm this great fear that I didn’t deserve to be here. It was in a bus station in Agadir when I lost my wallet, student ID and $90 that I truly wanted to go home. I was embarrassed and tired. Ashamed that I could be so stupid to continue to lose my valuables, I was not just penniless for the rest of spring break I was blue too.

Of course I was fine. My friends were champions and all helped me get through the rest of the week. And most astonishingly my wallet was found and posted to a lost and found board online and was returned to me (without the cash (gotta pay that $90 idiot tax sometime)). But something had changed in me. A month later when I lost my phone in the back of a taxi I spent 1 hour distraught and angry at myself. I then calmly accepted the fact that I no longer had a phone and made a list of reasons why I needed it, and the answer was I didn’t really.

These are things, some of them are important others are not. Some things you can afford to lose others you cannot. But trust me as an expert on the subject when I say there is always a solution (unless you break the law and become the next episode of locked up abroad). I lost all my Identification including my passport in the Charles De Gaulle Airport and look at this incredible journey I’ve been on.

If you really want to hold on to your belongings get a body wallet that can be hung around your neck or strapped to your body underneath your clothes. Keep your passport and documents in there. Only keep a small amount of money in your wallet (I only keep $20 or so). Travel light! Only take what is absolutely necessary the less you take the less you have to lose. Have a routine, this can be hard when you are on the road but even just doing a check every time you are about to leave a location and every time you arrive is good. Have a designated place for your items. If you loose everything (like I did) take a moment and think what are your assets and what has to be done. Don’t stress, don’t beat yourself up you aren’t solving any problems that way. There is a solution, you are smart, you are here for a reason and you will get through it.

What was most comforting to me when I had lost everything was the list of things that I had gained while I was in Morocco. In this beautiful place I have gained a tan, and a beard, I am in the best shape of my life, I have improved my french and arabic, I have learned to dance salsa, I have learned to play the ukulele, I have gained incredible friendships, tasted delicious food, I have watched the stars in the sahara, and I’ve found myself.

I have paid a fair price. I am stronger for my trials. I have learned how to hold to the things that are important (the hard way) and to let go of the things that are not.

Safe travels
Michael Nelson

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