Backpack Down

A tragic combination of a misinformed travel agent, a Vietnamese visa fiasco, and the remarkable dysfunction of VietJet Airlines has led to the recent disappearance of all my belongings into the airport ether.

When the bag failed to arrive on the conveyer belt, it felt like nothing more than a natural conclusion to the most chaotic travel day. After a brief cry with an emotionally supportive baggage claim employee, I hastily bought some McNuggets (my first meal of the day) and sped away from the Singapore Airport, bagless. My cab driver whistled along to R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts” on the radio as we pulled up to the hostel just in time for the first lecture of second semester.

I’ve been making attempts to better contextualize my complaints and disappointments over the past few months. Stressful travel days, terrible WiFi, essay-writing all-nighters — it’s easy to let momentary misfortunes distract from the truly outrageous opportunity that is this trip. In an ideal headspace, I’d let the day-to-day annoyances fade away like the relatively insignificant problems they are. Losing this bag has really tested my dedication to this state of mind; I’ll spare the details, but the efforts to retrieve it have been clouded with bureaucracy, confusion, and frustration.

As annoying as the past couple weeks have been, that’s about all it was — annoying. The only real issue (besides the loss of a few sentimental items) is that VietJet Air refuses to give any monetary compensation for the loss.

The other night, some beautiful people solved 95% of my immediate problems with one of the most generous gifts I’ve ever received. At precisely 22:00, my phone exploded with Venmo notifications from PacRimmers who pooled bits of money together to help me repurchase the essentials, and more. The incredible, massive act of crowdfunded kindness turned contagious, and some dear friends from high school shed their generosity on me too. The whole thing was difficult to process, and still is. One second, my brain was solely concentrated on airline annoyance and baggage claim logistics. The next, I was flooded with love and support.

Now, I enter the new year with gratefulness and a fresh start. The recent events have really set me up for a full and fresh list of new year’s resolutions. New year, no things, definitely new me. Among the relevant goals are recognizing what I can control, letting go of what I can’t, and accepting the help and support of those around me.

In other news, I’m really looking forward to losing the callus on my hand which has formed from the regular cramming of my overpacked bag and zipping with all the force I could muster.

I’ve made PacRim history as the first to ever lose all of their checked luggage. Currently awaiting a plaque to make it official.

This has been an update from the halfway point.


FURTHER UPDATE! BAG HAS BEEN FOUND IN HO CHI MINH CITY ONE MONTH LATER! ALL GIFTS TO BE RETURNED! THANKS EVERYONE FOR THE SUPPORT!

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