Often when travelling, the most valuable things you have after your passport and money are your pictures, since you can't buy them back. When the moment is passed, it is passed. This is the story of a 6-month trip in 2008 that ended up with no picture. Except for about a dozen, I had posted on Facebook (but when you download them back they are in awful quality). I was crossing the entire North and Central America using only ground transportation (hitchhiking, buses, and my feet). To make a long story short, once I got into Nicaragua, about 3 months later, I went to visit Ometepe Island. I stayed at a hostel (a 4 bunk bed cabin). I was sharing it with other travellers that I ended up trusting. Overnight someone came in and robbed us all. Some had their wallets stolen. Call it the beginner luck, I only had my camera stolen, but funny how important pictures can be. The thieves were never caught, and none of us had our stuff returned.
I kept travelling into Costa Rica and Panama without any camera. As awful it might sound. I ended up enjoying it somehow. You stop reaching for your camera when you see something nice, you simply enjoy it completely. From that moment on, it changed my way of travelling with a camera. I do take pictures, but I try to spend the longest time enjoying what is in front of me instead of looking at it through a camera. I even do trips without pictures (but that is a story for another time).
To get back into my story, once I reached Panama, a family member came to travel with me for 10 days. She left me her camera so I could take some pictures on my way back to Canada. Surely that's what I did. Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico it was all on the camera once I got in the United States. Only a few days from home, at a bus transfer, the bus was overbooked, so I had to stay behind. My backpack (with automatic transfers) moved on, they told me I would pick it up at the next station. Once I got there, someone had snatched the camera from my backpack (one more reason to travel light, you are never separated from your backpack). In the U.S? Yes, and to be honest, I got robbed more often in the USA than in all my other trips combined. (Do you still think North America is safer?)
It is one of those moments where you just cry or laugh. For me, it was the latter. The ironic of life! So this is the story of 6-month travel that ended up with only a dozen low-quality pictures that I was able to salvage from Facebook. The lesson of the story? Even if it sucks, pictures are not everything. If they are for you, save them regularly on a USB stick or on a cloud (not those puffy white things flying around, you silly!) A cloud like; Google Drive, Icloud, Dropbox, etc. Most importantly, learn to enjoy every moment as they come. Don't get caught in the social media photo contest. Travel for you and not for your online self, because in the end, even the most gorgeous pictures can't replicate the beauty of the moment.