I haven’t had the opportunity to really dig into my travel companion for months and as luck would have it, I found myself in a dorm in São Paulo by myself. Every receipt, item, piece of clothing brought back memories that only now, at the tail end of my adventure I can look book at with fond memories. These include:
- Malarone Tablets x 31. I never got close enough to the Amazon to use them. The one that I did take was for La Ciudad Perdida trek in Northern Colombia. My fellow trekkers mocked my overzealous caution so I stopped taking them. The outlay of €110 for that one pill…totally worth it!
- Machu Picchu Fridge Magnet. I thought this little beauty had been stolen by the same thief that snatched my laptop case in Bolivia. My mother will be delighted to add this to her growing collection.
- Shaver Charger. I forgot to pack my shaver on this trip. My weak excuse for the facial fuzz I sprouted during my first two months abroad. I can’t believe I still held onto this for nine months.
- My Brother’s Raincoat. An ill advised thing to bring.Two sizes too large, I was embarrassed to wear it in public during the day because it made me look like Tom Hanks’ character in ‘Big’. I wore it twice. Once for an overnight bus from Ecuador into Peru, where the air con chill kept everyone up all night. The other time, descending a volcanic mountain in Guatemala pre-dawn.
- Pocket Torch. Helped when I woke up in a crowded dorm at 5am in a frantic search for my missing Passport, two hours before due to board an early flight from Panama into Colombia. I probably looked like some demented version of Fox Mulder investigating a crime scene.
- Spanish exercise book. My class notes from Antigua back in October – never reopened since class ended. Probably because the beer soaked pages had congealed into one solid mass.
- X-Ray of Broken Wrist. A nice souvenir from a hospital in Buenos Aires. Something I need to send to reclaim travel insurance when I return to Ireland.
- Loose coins from various countries.
- Xtravision membership card from N.Ireland. How did that get in here?
- Medal of the Virgin Mary. Discovered in a jean pocket at the bottom of my backpack. Given to me by my mother ahead of my trip for protection.
- Skid Row T-Shirt from Utila, Honduras. Won by completing the Bar’s drinking Challenge. Two potent cocktails downed in quick succession, running around a pool table four times followed by hopping on one foot in circles for 60 seconds.
I’m not a collector and purposely didn’t want to weigh myself down along the way during this trip because ultimately, what you buy, you’ll need to carry on your back.
That being said, sorting through my things, seeing the wear and tear on certain clothes, stitch loosening on my faded runners with countless miles traversed across the continent, and the little reminders really hit home how much I’ve experienced. Some reminders are a little more permanent, like my newly freckled upper arms after too many days in Costa Rica with a weak sunscreen factor. Or the burn scar on my right calf from getting off a mototaxi on the wrong side and burning it on the exhaust pipe. Or the three scars on my right wrist where metal pins had to be inserted to set the bone straight.
Memories that will last with me a lifetime. It’s been a hell of a trip though, and I wouldn’t change a thing…well..come to think of it, the money saved from not buying those anti-malarial tablets would have come in handy!