I have very strange dreams every so often, but there is only one that’s recurring. In this dream, I’m just doing what I do: traveling, having fun, living life. Then out of nowhere I am attacked by someone who demands that I give them all of my belongings. And while I slowly hand over my phone and my bag, I try to bargain with the guy for one thing: my camera’s memory card.
The exact words of my begging and pleading always change, but the main idea is always the same. Take the camera, but just give me the memory card first.
Other than death, which I don’t even think about very often, losing my photos is my worst travel nightmare. I would even take certain degrees of disease or bodily harm over losing my pictures. Seriously… I would. I have a high tolerance for pain, and my body can heal, but travel memories can’t be relived.
So this summer when my new friend Briony realized that her GoPro was nowhere to be found, I completely understood where her feelings of sorrow, panic, regret and a whole bunch of other emotions came from. She was on the tail end of a long backpacking trip through Europe, and all of her photos were on that GoPro. I was basically watching a variation of my travel nightmare unfold for somebody else, and I could feel her pain.
I met Briony and her friend Jorden at the ferry port in Santorini a few days before the GoPro fiasco. We clicked almost instantly and just so happened to be going to the same hostel so it was perfect. For the next few days we did basically everything together. We visited a volcano, swam in a hot spring, watched the sunset, and on our last day together we rented four-wheel ATVs to go exploring the different beaches on the island.
As usual, Briony brought her GoPro with her.
On the way to our second beach of the day, we stopped at a restaurant on the side of the road to grab a quick lunch. I was sitting across from Briony and about halfway through our gyros I saw that wide-eyed look of panic wash over her face before the frantic search for her GoPro began. She looked around our table and in or bags before remembering that the last place she put the GoPro was on top of her ATV while she took her things out of the trunk. She remembered setting the GoPro down, but she didn’t remember picking it back up…
Briny went to the slightly busy parking lot where our ATVs were parked to look for her camera. When she came back empty-handed, Jorden went next to take a second look. When she came back empty-handed, we tried to comfort Briony as much as we could. Briny didn’t say much, but I could tell she felt horrible, and I couldn’t blame her.
We gathered our things and headed back to the ATVs with plans of going to the beach and hopes that a little sun and sand would brighten the day a bit. As we packed our bags in the trunks of our ATVs, I decided to try my luck at looking for the GoPro. I suck at finding things when I’m actually looking for them. My mom even makes fun of me for it, but it was worth a try.
I looked all around the ATV, then under it and then around the cars parked next to us…Nothing. Then, I remembered some advice my dad gave me in one of my many frantic moments of searching for something:
“When you can’t find something in the most obvious places, start looking in the places where you least expect to find it.”
And with that thought in mind, I turned my eyes to the bushes and trees in front of our ATVs. Within all of ten seconds I saw it. Slightly tucked away next to a tree was a stick that didn’t look like the other ones around it. It was a selfie stick and attached to it was Briony’s GoPro.
“Look what I found!” I said emerging from the bushes with the GoPro in my hand. The wide-eyed look of relief instead of panic on Briony’s face was priceless.
We will never know the identity of our GoPro savior, but his or her intentions were obvious: to put the camera in a place that was slightly hidden so it would only be found by someone who was specifically looking for it.
It would have been incredibly easy to steal that camera, which is worth over $300 USD, but instead this good samaritan did what was within his or her power to make sure its rightful owner found it. And that’s exactly what happened.
Faith in humanity restored yet again