Travel Pains: They’re like growing pains. But not.

In my short 26 years of residing on this planet of ours, I’ve participated in what is possibly the greatest of all opportunities in life: TRAVEL. I cannot express just how much I am in love with it and how important I think it is for every person to embrace and experience it at some point in their fleeting existence. I’m of the opinion that you’re less of a person if you have no desire to travel and explore the world beyond your front door because you’re missing out on the most exciting parts of well, everything! Not to sound extremist but there might possibly be something fundamentally wrong with you if you don’t want to travel. Seriously. Look it up. Alas I’m getting off point. As I said, I’ve had amazing adventures in different countries all over the world but it seems that no matter where I go, I run into trouble.

I begin my story in the beautiful alpine snow town of Chamonix, France. Just close your eyes and imagine snow-capped mountains, snowboarding down the silky smooth runs, French food, French wine (more importantly) and a warm bed at night for a glorious week over Christmas. Sounds tre magnifique. Sounds amazing. Right? Well try doing all of that wearing a 2-inch thick foam neck brace. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when my parents offered to shout my two siblings and I a Christmas holiday in the French Alps but it’s a good story nonetheless.

So there I was on my first night in this beautiful town, minding my own business attempting to watch some French TV in the safety of our lovely apartment when out of nowhere, the supposedly secure cabinet (approximately 2 meters long and 0.5 of a meter in depth) looming above my unsuspecting head came loose and crashed down on top of me. The pure shock of it was almost enough to give me a heart attack but instead it sliced open my poor, innocent thumb and gave me what the doctor originally thought was a fractured vertebrae but, in the end, it turned out to be a severely compressed spine. There were doctors visits, x-rays taken, pain killers and a neck brace prescribed and all the while my siblings were off having fun in the snow without me. Jerks. Lucky or unlucky. I wasn’t sure at the time but I can look back now and say lucky. Well that was at least until I moved to Fernie, Canada. Let’s just say that there was -30 degree weather, a wind chill of -40 degrees, a subsequent bout of mild pneumonia, a lot of coughing and a cracked rib involved. Oh and I was working at a child care at the same time so I think you get the picture. At the end of all this I thought surely, it must be over. Surely I can’t be cursed but alas, I was wrong. I’ll just say four words: allergic reaction to bedbugs. Yeah. Think about it.

But wait! There’s more! That same year, I was living in Revelstoke, Canada and the ski hill had just opened for the season. We were all up bright and early to get first tracks and what glorious tracks they were. I was cruising down a steep slope when I thought I’d better stop and wait for my sister (she was just learning to snowboard) and as I turned and dropped to me knees, I failed to notice the jagged rock that was concealed just below the surface of the snow. The pain was ridiculous but nothing compared to having to ride back down the mountain and constantly falling over with a bung knee. Never again I say. I still have nerve damage in my knee.

Now these stories are just some of the highlights. There have been cases of food poisoning, more mishaps and more illnesses but despite all of them, I don’t regret a single one. Besides, they’re great stories to tell around the dinner table. I mean what can I say? I try to look on the bright side of life. I’m not at all dubious about my impending trip to the U.S in June/July 2014. What could possibly go wrong in a national park or in New York and Vegas?

The journal vs. the blog. Can either be trusted?

At the ripe old age of 14, one of my English teachers set a ‘running’ assessment task: A JOURNAL. We were expected to write one entry a week for the duration of the year and he would check it at the end of every week. Now he promised that he would simply check to see if we’ve written the allotted one-page minimum and not actually read what we had written but I’m sure that that was a lie. How could he not be tempted by what I’m sure was riveting reading written by a bunch of angsty teenagers?! Anyway, it seemed that the habit of writing in a journal stuck and I’ve continued to keep a journal well into my adulthood. Being able to record the most incredible and also the most mundane experiences in my life has been something that I thought that nothing else could ever compare to. Then I discovered blogging.

Now, being relatively new to the blogosphere it occurred to me yesterday that writing a blog is the same as writing in a good ol’ journal. A startling revelation, I know. It’s not exactly the same as cracking open a leather-bound journal, getting out my favourite pen and writing down my deepest, darkest secrets but I’m beginning to appreciate the opportunities afforded to me by being able to write a blog. I can get creative with my writing and finally make use of my vocabulary to then write about things that I would normally just keep to myself. Additionally, I’m reaching that wide global community that until now, I have remained woefully closed off to. BLOGGING = LIBERATION. However, I’m sure that none of this is news to all of you regular bloggers. I’m a novice I know.

As much as I love to write in my journal and now my blog, there some of things I write in my journal would NEVER make the likes of a public blog (no-one should be subjected to the emotional train wreck that is my life at times) for the simple fact that an online, public blog is there FOREVER. A journal can be lost, stolen or in some rare cases, spontaneously combust into roaring flames but when you publish something on the Internet, it’s going to follow you around for the rest of your days. Sure you can delete it but I have no doubt that there’s a guy sitting in a dark room full of beeping and twitching computers that, if bribed with food or perhaps in dire circumstances money, he could dig up all of the skeletons in your digital closet that you’ve tried so hard to keep in a deep, dark cave of personal shame. There’s always going to be that one photo, comment or blog post that you curse the day you posted it and so it got me thinking, can either medium truly be trusted? A blog can be hacked and a journal can be read so is there really any hope for any of our most private or indeed our public thoughts?

Please, sir, I want some more.

A few months ago I was having lunch with my sister in a crowded Brisbane food court when a middle-aged woman began to choke. At first we didn’t realise what was going on and then the woman got up from her seat and started asking for help while still continuing to choke. She was eating with a friend who also starting asking people for help before dialling 000 for an ambulance. Now at a time like this we would expect someone to stand up instantly and give her the heimlich manoeuvre to dislodge the food caught in her throat but much to my and my sister’s surprise, everyone just sat in their seats and continued to eat while watching this woman slowly turn blue. My sister and I got up to help but we weren’t entirely sure what to do so my sister ran to a nearby chemist to find a staff member who she assumed would have some first aid knowledge. They didn’t. They were about as helpful as wings on a horse. Luckily a young 20-something-year-old guy got up and proceeded to pound her back to help her cough up the food. At this stage the woman’s face was very blue, her eyes were streaming with tears and she was gasping for air. The guy didn’t seem to be getting anywhere by pounding her on the back but then suddenly, the woman took a breath and she was no longer choking. I’ve never been so scared for someone’s life than I was for this woman. I’m in no way shape or form a religious person but thank God for that 20-something-year-old guy. If it wasn’t for him that woman would have probably choked to death in that food court.

The point that I’m making by telling this story is just how disgracful people can be. I know that there are thousands of people in sever poverty and in numerous conflicts world wide that need our help but this woman was right in front of us. She was literally at our feet in a life threatening situation and only four people out of an entire food court took it upon themselves to help. I don’t understand what’s wrong with people. How can we just sit and watch while someone fights for such a basic human instinct like breathing when it’s right in front of us? I have never been so outraged and disappointed in people in my life. My idealistic view of humanity (that everyone is capable of expressing compassion and will help someone in need) has been utterly shattered. I never realised just how unwilling people are to just get up and help someone. My only hope is that if I’m ever choking in a food court that that 20-something-year-old guy is around to save my life because I’m concerned that no-one else will.

Blogging isn’t hard. Right?!

Ok so I’ve written a couple of blog posts in my time but they were purely written on the basis of finishing an assignment for Uni. I’m in no way a “blogger” but seeing as it looks like my summer is going to be less than interesting, I may as well give it a go and see what weird and wonderful revelations pop out of my head. I mean, how hard can it be to just write about whatever happens to be rattling around in my head at the time? Someone will read it, right?! I suppose though that even if no-one ever reads my posts (a highly likely occurrence), it really doesn’t matter because there’s something truly cathartic about putting it out there and writing it down despite the (potential) lack of interest. Well, it is for me anyway so I’m not fussed if I don’t attain global fame by way of blogging (ha!).

Stay tuned bloggers. Ramblings will ensue.

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