Excuse me while I get this off my chest.
OK, that feels a bit better. I’ve just spent the day itemising the items I had stolen, getting replacement quotes and finding proof of ownership. It’s a crappy job, but at least I’ll be getting reimbursed for about three quarters of the stuff I lost. Sitting at the airport on a chilly, clear Canberra morning yesterday, waiting for my flight home, I reflected on what I’d really had stolen from me (this blog doesn’t normally get too introspective or moody, but bear with me while I seek some closure here).
My Australian road trip could be encapsulated in one word: freedom. I had everything I needed to live in my car; I could pull up anywhere, anytime, and have food, shelter and the chance to have fun. Over the course of May, June and July, I’d been enjoying that freedom as best I could. I visited places I’d never heard of, moved here and there on a whim, and had the amazing experience of disconnecting from anything which demanded my time. Sure, there were ups and downs (and travelling around by car caused me a little cognitive dissonance because I was powering my trip with fossil fuels), but it was, and will be, one of the defining trips of my lifetime.
A major driver of my trip was that typically Aussie ideal: the surf trip. I was chasing good waves in the teeth of a South Coast winter. In my first southern leg, I had reasonable waves and explored the coast, but didn’t really score it pumping. It was with high hopes that I returned south at the end of July, but only really had one good session in the first two weeks. The fateful trip to Canberra was an exercise in the freedom I’ve been talking about: I heard about Powershift and thought, “Sure, sounds interesting!” Off I went for the weekend, with the promise of good surf back on the coast in the following week.
That’s when it all went wrong. You know about the stolen car and stuff. I managed to occupy my time in Canberra for a few days waiting to see if the car turned up; I spent an amazing day at the War Memorial, and hung out on the rainy days at the YHA watching TV and playing losing pool to Chris. Finally, when I was about to fly home, I realised what I’d lost.
I’d lost two weeks of holiday time – not much in the context of my trip, but a lot in any other context! I’d lost the chance to get really good waves on the South Coast. I’d lost the opportunity to catch up with friends I had planned to meet. I’d lost the ability to round out my Australian travels on my own terms. I’d lost the essence of the trip; the freedom to do what I wanted, when I wanted. Staring out of the window at my plane taxiing to the terminal, all of it really hit me. I was filled with frustration at my inability to do anything about the situation, and anger at the perpetrators. To make matters worse, I was going back to the Gold Coast, where public transport is a nightmare and getting around to prepare for Europe would now be a real challenge.
Those of you with similar experiences will know how I feel. There’s the financial component – I stand to lose about $2-3K out of this – but more than that, there’s the invasion of privacy, a shattering of trust in the wider public and a haunting feeling of having it somehow being my fault for leaving my car in that spot on that night.
Hopefully, this post will let me clear out what’s in my head and get on with what promises to be a surprisingly busy time. In the past 2 days, I’ve picked up no less than 5 events to attend or help with in the coming week. I’ve now got more time to spend on a few projects that are in the works (oooh… foreshadowing!). Election weekend looms, with Green Steps the weekend after and all my Europe prep still to come. I’m going to fill my lost two weeks with everything I can, so that looking back, I see positives – screw the thieves!