When S**t Happens

It was bad enough my muse abandoned me a few months ago. Potential posts have been sitting incomplete in a draft folder waiting for a spark of inspiration to give them life.

… and now the bottom has fallen out completely.

It all started yesterday.

I’m in Portugal on a short vacation with Gilles. We arrived yesterday afternoon after an exhausting 13 hour journey – not counting the 5 hour time change. In other words I had gone 24 hours without sleeping.

We had been in Lisbon for only about an hour when it happened.

I forgot my backpack on the side of the road when we arrived at our rental apartment. Needless to say, by the time I noticed it was missing, the bag was gone.

The loss of that pack is devastating to me. It contained my laptop, both my cameras, the hard drive containing every photo I’ve ever taken, and assorted other technology.

I’ve been completely gutted by the loss. It was a moment of carelessness at a time when I was feeling brain-dead from exhaustion.

Although I *think* the bag was tagged with my contact information, I’m not certain but I do know for sure my backups are grossly old. If the bag is not recovered, the impact will be significant.

As is typical in our marriage, when one of us falls apart, the other manages to remain a calming influence in the emotional storm. Gilles has been amazing in holding me together … not a small undertaking.

I can now talk about it without crying. I know it’s just *stuff* and stuff is replaceable.

In the meantime I have just a phone … a device I don’t use a lot. Trying to create this post has been painful and now I understand the frustration so many of you have expressed with the WordPress editor.

This is really just a long way of telling you good-bye. I don’t know when I’ll be back but I do know it won’t be on a phone.

Photo by Gilles. Who would ever have thought we’d find a polar bear in Portugal? Just trying to prove I still have a sense of humour.


  1. I was travelling when you wrote this post and didn’t see it until now. I hardly know what to say about your losses – my words wouldn’t seem enough, but I really feel for you and am sending you good luck wishes.

    I hope you’ll find a way back to the blog. Blogging is a habit it’s strangely easy to fall out of, but know that your community are here waiting for you if and when you feel inspired to come back.

    I think photography is a life long love. You can never replace what you have lost (barring a miracle – and thank goodness for the pictures you still have here!) and you may see things differently, but it seems to me like a worse tragedy for you to stop taking pictures when you have a talent for it and it most likely gives you pleasure. All my pictures these days are taken with an iPhone (not a fancy one, just an old SE) and though it will feel limiting after what you’re used to, perhaps you might eventually take to it and find you can achieve pleasing results, at least until you can replace your ‘real’ cameras. It feels freeing just to be able to take out a lightweight phone you carry anyway and take a picture.

    I understand your reluctance to write a meaty post from a phone. I have never mastered that. I’m hoping that we’ll see you back here soon, even with just a picture or two to let us know you’re OK. Best wishes again – Susan


  2. Hey Joanne, how are things? Still a terrific 2020 to you (without losses!) One of my neighbors told me that the snow that fell today “did not used to be at all that way in the past!” They had snow, once in 5 years. Now, for the last 3 years it has been snowing in winter – maybe time to get outta here!))


    • Hi Junie!! Hope 2020 is treating you very well 🙂

      The weather is certainly all kinds of weird everywhere now. I don’t think anyone is exempt from it now. I am however enjoying this much milder weather. Snow is not my favourite thing and unfortunately we are about to get a major dump of it this weekend. Oh well, January in Canada 😉


  3. Sorry this happened to you, Joanne. Somehow I missed the devastating story. Now I understand your comment on my last post. Here’s to moving onward and upward in 2020. Sending all my positive thoughts to get your muse back! 🙏


    • Oh Mel, like your Christmas experience, this incident was just the beginning of a long string of … shall we say, misadventures, including, like you, an Airbnb with no hot water.

      I, for one, am hoping the shit-storm is finally over and we can get on with getting on :/

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh no!!! This was hard to read, because I can only begin to imagine losing so much yes stuff, but it’s more than stuff.. it’s all your photos, your memories! Awful. Ugh so sorry Joanne. It’s easy for shit to happen when we are exhausted and jet lagged. Maybe just maybe it will still come back to you.. somehow. You never know….



    • Thanks Peta. I had hoped that at least the hard disk with my photo library would make its way back to me, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

      I haven’t yet found my way out of the inertia this has caused – at least with respect to my blog.


  5. As much as it is a 1st world problem, losing stuff is shitful. My ipod, which I had kept chugging for many years, was stolen early this year. I miss it so. I missed your post, because I feel like I am wasting time when I am on computers and phones. This does not stop me playing words with friends and commenting stupidly on facebook. The latter is lessening somewhat. I’m on the PC today because it is 36° outside, with 43° forecast for tomorrow.

    I’m sorry this happened to you Joanne. I hope you can be back to your old self soon (with learned modifications 🙂 )


    • Thanks Mick. I really don’t know when I’ll be back. I’ve been so busy with the stuff of normal life since I got home, I haven’t given blogging much thought. Perhaps when life settles back down in January, I will feel differently and the pull of the blogosphere will lure me back.

      We’ve been following closely the terrible weather conditions in Australia – the record breaking heat, and the devastating forest fires. The many Aussies I have met online have been in my thoughts frequently over the past month. My wish for you is rain to help the firefighters.

      Best wishes, Mick, for a happy and kinder new year.


      • Victoria has been lucky through this period, until now. We even had snow on some of our higher mountains early in December. But this turned about 2 weeks ago. We got to 40° today with it dropping off at the moment back to 36°. Fact is, Australia is a big dry island continent with most of it’s population living on the coast. It always has been, but climate change has worsened the situation. We all need to adapt to these changes, but if it keeps changing I’m afraid I don’t think we will be able to keep up. Days like this really ram this home.

        As you know, we no longer live in the middle of a big grassy paddock. That’s good news.

        I honestly do not know how people can blog as much as they do. I just can’t manage even one a month any more. Having said that, I think they are a fantastic way to diarise your life. I’m hoping to find more discipline with my blogging next year,

        Happy New Year, Buon Anno, gelukkig nieuwjaar to you and yours Joanne.


        • It sounds then that you are busy in your retirement if you continue to be too busy to blog 🙂 That is good to hear! I can’t believe that it’s been almost 9 years for me now, and I find I continue to evolve.

          Let’s hope that the new year and new decade brings a bit more sanity than the past number of years!!


    • Thanks Mary. It’s been a hectic month and I’m hoping that January will give me some quieter days to reflect a bit. Blogging is still a question mark for me. So much has changed but time will tell.

      Best wishes for the new year 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • The problem with being in a foreign country was that the obvious things one might do when at home, don’t feel so obvious in an unfamiliar place.
      We decided we could either labour over the loss, or try to put it behind us and move on with our vacation. We chose the latter.

      Unfortunately, this turned out to be a vacation full of petty irritations layered on one another. It is one that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons :/


  6. So sorry to hear of your problems. I always panic if I suspect I have lost something. It is a horrible feeling. I think it helps to know that most of it can be replaced, and it is a lesson in not getting too attached to things that can’t – although it still hurts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. It may sound odd, but once I got over the initial panic, I felt rather liberated. I think I was getting bogged down in my ‘stuff’ and this was a major wakeup call. I don’t know what this means to me yet.

      Liked by 3 people

      • How wonderful that you can see an up side to this. You must be a really positive person. Although, I do agree, there is a lesson in holding too tightly on to material objects in this. I hope it works out for you, Joanne.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Nooh…what a loss! So sorry Joanne. Can’t even think clearly, how much that impacts your interests of photography and digital presence. Hang in there, for sure you’ll get something back. Make of December what if left – you still have left: your family! At least they can’t steal that away from you.


  8. Oh Joanne, I am so sorry to hear about this.

    Strangely I had a similar experience in Portugal in 2011. We stopped at a scenic overlook near Faro in the south of Portugal, and while we were looking at the view, thieves broke into our rental car and stole my laptop, camera, money, and phone. We were only a short distance away from the car for about 15 minutes. Thank goodness they left me my passport, other ID, and the printed out plane tickets. We were offline for the rest of the trip, which was a bit nerve wracking as I’d left an 18 year-old son alone at home. The rental car company did not charge us anything for the damage to the rental car because we had bought the extra insurance coverage.

    I am happy to report that I have put it all behind me. My home insurance did pay for a new laptop, but not a camera or phone. I am still using that laptop. Now I always back up my phone before I leave on a trip, and rarely travel with my computer, but if I do, I back it up first. It sucks having to learn the hard way!

    I have lived to tell the tale and have discovered that losing stuff (even precious photos) is not nearly as bad as losing other things like one’s health or one’s loved ones.

    Small consolation, I know.



    • It really is gut-wrenching when it first happens, but as you say, life goes on. It is definitely a nasty lesson to learn about maintaining timely backups. It had been on my list of things to do, but I just ran out of time. I considered the risk low. Lesson learned!
      The insurance company has finally opened a claim file (our agent is just awful … and will be replaced in the new year!) so now at least I have some hope of some recovery.

      You are right though. It’s just stuff and right now I’m just grateful for so many other important things in my life!

      Merry Christmas, Jude, and best wishes for the new year!


  9. Oh my goodness, I do feel your pain, intensely!!! I remember reading about the loss of your cameras which was bad enough but the computers too!!! I am glad that the tears have subsided and you’re now able to face this with humor. Almost worth the whole thing to get that picture with you and the polar bear …but seriously. I do hope your stuff finds its way back to you, or that it has already been destroyed so no one can touch it, or that the thieves who have failed to return the goods to you suffer endlessly the remainder of their days. May insurance get you some shiny new equipment soon. And the good news is that you have so many good memories stored safely here on the blog.


    • Thanks Lisa for the kind words.

      Now that I’m home again, I’m trying to deal with this new reality. I finally have a new computer again but the recovery of my photo library is turning out to be a major problem. Sigh.

      Like you said, at least I have the memories I stored on my blog. Right now those are the only tangible photos I have left 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • Just heartbreaking. I am seriously thinking of backing up in the ‘cloud’ just as soon as I find a good, inexpensive internet connection (which may be never at this rate). An artist friend of mine had a studio that caught fire and she lost everything there. All that remains is the work that she’d sold or given away to others (a good reason to give things away I guess). It wasn’t the type of work that could be backed up (it could have been insured but wasn’t …but I don’t think my friends wants the money, she just wants her art back). The first three months were really tough but now she is creating and ‘recreating’ again. Loss sucks.


        • omg Lisa. That’s even worse! While the loss of my photo library still pains me considerably, losing a body of work would be devastating. I’m happy to hear your friend is back creating again.

          This experience has finally sold me on cloud storage. Too bad it took such a drastic occurrence to reach that conclusion. Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way 😢

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh Joanne I am so very sorry. I had a similar experience on arrival in Slovenia in 2013. Tired from a long haul flight I left my bag in the shuttle vehicle and it contained my passport, iPad, most of my money, credit cards and the kitchen sink.I was fortunate enough to have everything returned within a couple of hours. nothing short of a miracle. I’m hoping that by some chance the same might happen for you. If not, and I see in above comments it has not, I hope the insurance process will be helpful. Your blog itself will hold many of your photos if that is a slim consolation. Sending big hugs. Travel is not all glorious and lined with cupcakes and unicorns. Definitely a dragon or two along the way.


    • We’ve been lucky up to now that we’ve not experienced any of the ugliness that sometimes comes with travel.
      So far even the insurance company is stonewalling me. I have virtually no confidence now that there will be happy ending to this story 😦

      Yes, sometimes shit happens and that’s all you can say about it.


  11. I’ll say it with you, Joanne. Sh*t. X 25. But, you will come out on the other side. Insurance can replace the things, but the photos… Sh*t X 125.
    I saw that you are home…a difficult journey to be sure. But time and patience are on your side.


    • Thanks Nancy. It seems that my trials aren’t quite over yet. I still don’t have my computer replaced. I’ve had 2 false starts and I’ll be heading back to the store today for round 3. Hopefully it will be the charm.

      The insurance company has already started making squeaky noises about not covering any of the loss. I’m waiting for them to ‘check with head office’. I’m not surprised. I suspected this was going to happen.

      In general, I’m just trying to deal with being home again and I think it’s going to be a long slog before I feel like I’m back on my feet again 😦


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s