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How Losing My Luggage Helped Me Find My Way Home

I love to shop local.  So when I came across the perfect bag to take on my (wanna-be) world travels at a small little store called Tropical North in Barrie, Ontario I knew it was the bag I had been looking for.  Conveniently enough it also happened to be my husbands birthday so I purchased it for my partner in crime (and life).  A win win situation.

Our new Herschel bag was Canadian made and was perfect for the adventures we daydreamed about.  In February 2015 we packed the bag and our 4 year old up and headed to Nicaragua for a week of yoga and surfing.  We arrived in Managua, excited to soak up the sun and surf and realized we made it, the bag didn’t.  Watching the baggage belt go around and around and realizing that we were in Nicaragua with a 4 year old, our passports and nothing else was humbling.  We headed out of the airport and hopped into a pick up truck with a local who was driving us 5 hours away to the coast.  I remember thinking that back in Canada I would never hop into a truck with a stranger (let alone with a kid in tow).  We took the short route which was dirt roads, stopping to buy watermelon at the side of the road.  We were completely dependent on the good will of our driver and as he spoke about his family and his pride for his country, we knew we were in good hands.  Upon arrival at Soma, our home for the week we explained our lost luggage situation.  Within minutes we had swim suits, tooth brushes and anything else we needed.  Someone lent me contact lens solution, someone else a shirt.  Complete strangers, restoring my faith in the kindness of the human race.

Months later I was headed to Costa Rica to embark on my yoga teacher training.  I packed well, knowing that I would be doing hours a day of yoga training (both physical and mental) and that I would be there in “green” (also known as rainy season). My heart sank as I watched all the other passengers in San Jose grab their bags and head off through customs.  Again-I arrived safe and sound.  My bag was on its own adventure.  Two amazing women who hours ago had been strangers waited with me while I tried to explain what the bag looked like.  To make matters worse I couldn’t find the baggage claim number and was at the mercy of the baggage gods and Air Canada.  For 6 days I relied once again on the kindness of the people around me.  The entire group of women (and 1 guy) who were on the same teacher training as I was lent me everything from face wash to flip flops.  At this point in my life I had begun to really embrace minimalism and had been giving up material possessions in exchange for experiences.  Was this the universe’s way of giving me the push I needed to really live with less?  When my bag finally arrived I wasn’t happy to see it.  I had learned that everything I really needed I already had.  When I came back to Canada, I de-cluttered in a way I hadn’t before.

My husband and I joked that the bag had a spirit of its own-travelling without us to Miami and Mexico.  In March of this year we packed it again and headed to Ecuador.  We were on an adventure in South America and the Galapagos and laughed when we arrived in Quito without our luggage…again.  We were prepared this time and had packed the essentials in a carry-on.  There was no stress because we knew someone, somewhere would help us with what we needed.  We had learned to go with the flow while travelling and we knew that in reality we could wear the clothes on our backs for days on end. We had arrived safely, had a wonderful driver who talked about his own children with our 6 year old and had grabbed a bottle of wine at duty free.  Life was good.  Our bag had gone to Panama.  We were reunited the next day.  The lessons had been learned.

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