If you were to ask most travelers what their single greatest fear is on a trip it would probably universally be, losing a camera. Camera’s are a sacred thing while traveling, they are your way to document your experience so that no matter what you will always be able to remember. Photos are the easiest ways to call into clarity a memory from a trip past and for that reason are extremely important to anyone who takes a trip or documents a moment. A traveler’s worst nightmare is the loss or theft of a camera.
I got to experience that fear today. This morning when leaving Milan I made the incredibly stupid decision to clip my camera on to my backpack’s hip belt. Then we walked down the platform to the train, boarded the train, car number 7 and sat down. Upon sitting down, Kailey asked for the camera as she likes to document the taking off points of our aventures. I reached for the camera when a sinking feeling hit my stomach as I realized the hip belt was no longer attached and the camera was nowhere to be found. My heart began a mad dash for 1000 beats a minute as I frantically searched, the bag, the seat, the floor all the while the eyes of my wife were burning holes into my back as I panicked and said “the camera isn’t here.” I searched the car up and down and then down on to the platform, searching in vain for a camera that I knew in my heart was gone. Kailey searched all over as well including her own mad dash at 5 minutes to departure down the platform and back. I tried my best to mime and explain in English that we had lost our camera to the train assistant, but he just kind of laughed and said “no,” hinting to there is no way we were going to find it. Kailey was getting that particular look in her eyes that I know means trouble. “Hell hath no fury like my wife” I could sense the anger in her knowing full well that I deserved it since it was incredibly dumb to have put my camera on the belt loop. I arrived back at my seat and slumped down into my chair resigned to a fate where I had lost our camera, the case, all of our memory cards, the back ups of our photos and one day of pictures in Milan. Thankful at least that we have the pictures we had up through Switzerland downloaded on the Ipad already.
Now you might be reading this and say, “Wow that’s not so bad only one day of photos lost.” You are right it’s not terrible, it wasn’t the end of the world. It just felt like it. I had used that camera across New Zealand, all through camping trips, hikes, adventures with Kailey. It was a gift from my parents a couple years back and had served me, and now us well as a basic digital point and shoot. It represented quite a few adventures and it’s loss would mean a huge bump in the road for our trip. We would of course be able to buy a new one in Venice, at a high cost no doubt, but the knowledge that I had lost something so crucial to the trip, with such a stupid reason was going to eat at me for quite some time.
Kailey and I spent the next 2 hours in relative silence, her glare and few cordial words saying quite enough. My attempts at pretending to be asleep were not really fooling anyone. Rae was lucky enough to get to be around for all this, Day 2 for her! YAY! I ran through a million scenarios in my head where: the conductor found the camera; a kind passenger turns in the found camera; I remember I put it somewhere… not a single one came to fruition. I had finally accepted the fate of a new camera in Venice, and myself under a self induced cloud of shame never to emerge again. It was a lousy day, and I saw nothing but lousy hours filling the foreseeable future.
We arrived at Venice Mestre (one stop before our own) and a large number of passengers started to file out, Kailey and Rae began packing up as we were uncertain if this was our stop or not.
Life is a funny thing, you hope and hope for events to take place and rarely if ever do they. You imagine a million ways for things to go right and they always go wrong. You tell yourself that you can’t appreciate the sweet without the sour. You read stories on Facebook about kind people doing kind things and wonder if they are true. Then one day as you sit having lost a camera full of 5 weeks of pictures and the potential of another 7 weeks more, a woman walks past you carrying a case. A camera case that looks familiar, one that somehow inexplicably catches your eye randomly as you look up at just the right moment. Your camera, your camera case!!!! You instantly forgo any attempt at language and simply state “THAT’S MINE” (channeling your inner 2 year old) grab the case and watch as light suddenly reenters your world as the silver Lumix comes sliding out of the case full of photos, and the clear plastic cases of 4 memory cards peek out of their pocket. There are a million reasons that I shouldn’t have gotten the camera back. The woman was at the other end of the car, she should have just gotten off at that end and not walked all they way past me. She had no real reason to be carrying the camera openly in her hand as she wasn’t exactly looking to return it to anyone (I’m assuming this, but the train attendant had come and gone at least 5 times before this moment, including just before the woman reached us. Any attempt at return had passed). I am pretty confident I dropped it on the platform, the odds of the person finding it being on my car are low. I could go on, but you get the point. With the tension broke, and surprise mixed with shock amongst us all Kailey and Rae proceeded to joke about me “finding” my camera. I didn’t find the camera, that’s too kind to me. Deus Ex Machina seems to be the best description of how I got the camera back. At the last moment in the story an external force swooped in and delivered the camera to me….I don’t know where to direct my thanks, but thanks. I am forever grateful at how the events played out. Kailey may be carrying the camera for the duration of our trip.