I’m sat writing this in Bali International Airport, our first layover on this very long two days of travel. In A few hours we’ll be boarding our flight to Kuala Lumpur where we’ll spend a day exploring the city before making our final stop ahead of a month of travelling around Sri Lanka. I’m exhausted, my whole body hurts, my hips are black and blue and I may have broken a toe. The boyfriend is sprawled out asleep on the bench next to me, dosed up on painkillers after he had to have stitches in his foot. We’re not in a good way right now. Why am I writing this? Because this blog is all about the good, the bad and the ugly side of travelling and heck I’ve really seen it all in my years on the road, but today was something special alright.
As you’ll see from the picture at the top, we were in a pretty bad car crash just a few hours ago, from the state of the car and what happened, I’d say we’re lucky to have walked out and to both be as okay as we are. On our way into town for one last lunch with a good friend of mine and for a quick visit to the post office to send parcels home, we had barely turned out of the road from our home when a car came hurtling down the road towards us. Just half an hour before, the skies had poured monsoon rain, wet season has well and truly arrived in Darwin, and yet the lad driving the car felt it was a great idea to be driving over 80kph in a 60 zone. It all happened so fast, but his car skidded on the wet road and came flying across our lane smashing up the front of our car and pushing us off the road. The driver’s side is all crushed up from where my amazing boyfriend tried to protect me from the worst of the smash, putting his own life at risk in the process.
It was terrifying. The moment the car lost control, I had an instant flashback to when my minibus was run off the road by a lorry in Cambodia. I nearly died in that crash and the memory of that combined with what happened yesterday really scared me. This all happened just a few hours before we were due to leave Australia after years of travelling over here, two amazing years over here where I have felt safe and happy. It’s crazy how quickly that feeling can leave you, I remember being in Cambodia and once that crash happened I was completely shaken and just didn’t feel safe there anymore, I felt like I couldn’t trust anyone and just wanted to get away. The one thing that has made today much better than that time, was having the boyfriend by my side. And for a girl who is normally a determined solo traveller, that is a big thing to admit. It was really scary, but we’ve been there to look after each other today and I don’t know what we both would have done without that. Likewise, I’ve been truly touched by the sheer amount of offers of help, messages and amazing people who have stepped up to help us out today.
One uninsured driver, an ambulance, a fire engine and five police cars later, I could focus on the awful thing that happened today. I could focus on the loss of the car, the loss of the money we would have sold it for, the loss of our last day with friends. But instead I’d rather focus on how grateful I am to be sat, safe and sound with my boyfriend in one piece and by my side at the beginning of our holidays. We’ve worked a long time for this moment and after what happened today, it is even more precious, I don’t know what I would have done if something would have happened to us. I’d rather focus on the amazing strangers who stopped to help when they saw what happened, the people who helped me pack up our possessions from the car, the medical staff who took care of my boyfriend. The friends who were frantically trying to call and see how they could help, the friend who drove all the way to hospital to check on my boyfriend and bring him home, the housemate who drove us to the airport, and the friends who were there, in every tiny way.
It doesn’t matter how small a part you played in yesterday – whether you worried from the other side of the world or you were physically here, helping us piece our day back together. I am so grateful for everything – because that is what travel is about. Not the fact that bad things happen so you should be scared to do it – bad things happen everywhere, all the time. Take it from a girl who has been in four serious crashes in the last few years, who has been mugged and threatened, who has witnessed attempted rape – I could go on. But this has happened all over the world, including back in the UK. So if bad things can happen everywhere, perhaps we should focus less on something we cannot control, and more on the people who club around you when these things happen. We should look at the way a community pulls together and the way you realise how loved you are. The ones who help you pick yourself back up and reassure you that it will all be okay. This amazing, selfless friendship is waiting all over the world for you, so don’t tell me you’re scared to reach out for it.