Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Once our trip was over, I figured our blog was over too. Not that I really wanted it to end (the trip or the blog); it's just that in my mind, they went hand in hand. Sure, people will check in to see great safari pictures or to hear about our trials and tribulations on the road, but who is going to check the blog now that we are here back in the US living our normal everyday lives. I guess there are a few people out there who might be interested in hearing about our reentry into "real" life, but probably not many.

So, here it is, just about 3 months since our last blog post. I'm sure we've lost all of our readership at this point, but something just happened that compels me to write. Eventually someone out there in the universe will stumble upon this post but until then, I'll just savor this post for myself.

As a pre 9/11 traveler, I travelled for years with my Swiss army knife in my carry on backpack; I never went anywhere without it. It was used for everything and I couldn't imagine being on the road and not having it at my disposal. So in June, 2008, before leaving for our year around the world, I consciously took my Swiss army knife and placed it in my toiletry bag which travelled in my checked luggage. Each time I arrived to a new destination and unpacked, I took the knife out of my toiletry bag and placed it in the daypack that was used for our daily outings. So began the ritual...Packing for a flight, put the knife in my toiletry bag; settling into a new location, unpack the knife and put in in the daypack. It was a flawless practice for 9 months, 18 travel days and 32 locations.

Then, in March of 2009, at the tiny airport on Rapi Nui, I saw the bin of items confiscated by airport security: lighters, scissors, knives. Knives! Oh my God! I'd forgotten to take my knife out of my daypack and put it in my toiletry bag. With my luggage already checked, there weren't too many options left. It was either surrender my beloved knife to airport security and never see it again, or run after our guesthouse host, Sharon, who was still at the airport awaiting her most recent guests on the arriving flight. For me it was a no brainer. I gave my knife to Sharon asking her if she would mail the knife back to me in the US in 3 months time when I would be returning home. She said she would do her best and then I had to let go of the outcome.

Concerned that small packages have a way of disappearing and never arriving to their final destination, Sharon later told me, via email, that she would hold the knife until she herself would be traveling to the US in the summer. Once in the US, she would mail the knife to me. Sharon arrived to the US but I got no package, only an email saying that she had essentially done the same thing - left the knife in her carry on instead of packing it in her checked bags. She passed the knife onto her assistant who was still at the airport as a sense of deja vu permeated the air.

At this point I was sure that I would never see my Swiss army knife ever again. I was tempted to plan a rescue mission, going to Rapa Nui myself to get the knife, but no matter how much I loved my knife or how bad I wanted to visit Rapa Nui again, I couldn't rationalize the thousands of dollars it would cost for the mission to get a knife that would cost me only $25 to replace. Besides, my family loved Rapa Nui as well - I might have to take all of them with me!

Sharon emailed me and told me that she would be coming back to the US in the fall for the birth of her grandchild; she would mail the knife to me at that point. But by this time I had lost all hope. It's not that I lacked faith in Sharon, it's just that I had come to believe that my knife was destined to spend the rest of it's existence on Rapa Nui - not a bad fate if I must say so myself.

But by last week everything had changed. I received an email from someone named Corie which I was about to delete since I didn't know a Corie and certainly all emails from people we don't know contain virus' right? Then I noticed that after her name came the phrase: Thank You and Package Mailed and the mention of the name Sharon. I backed up my computer to protect all my data before opening the email (not really) and there it was - a reference to my knife. Sharon had given my knife to one of her guests, this woman Corie from New York City, to mail to me upon her arrival back to the US. And sure enough, several days later, the knife arrived at my door step.

The knife looks exactly the same as when I handed it off to Sharon at the Rapa Nui airport 7 months ago; but it's not the same. It's no longer just a Swiss army knife, but instead is an embodiment of worldwide humanity. Sharon was a wonderful host when we stayed at Te'Ora, her guesthouse on Rapa Nui; but her obligation ended there. She didn't have to take on the mission of returning my knife to me, but she did. And while it took several attempts to keep her promise, keep it she did. Thank you Sharon for being the wonderfully kind person you are. And Corie who never knew me and most likely never will, she took on that mission as well.

Pick up any newspaper and you will see all the evil that our lives are currently filled with. But I know, after having traveled the world for a year, that this world is filled with incredible kindness. I know this because we were the recipient of it many times over.


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samthegardener65 said...

what a great story about your knife and, the difficulties we travelers have with our day to day items. How kind and determined people can be, more specifically people whom we hardly know, who have busy lives and difficult schedules, that go that extra mile to help folk because it is the right thing to do. Thank you.