March 11, 2020
Sat in an almost empty Omani airport, hoping I can get back into that unspecified Arab country I call home (I’m told all visas have been denied, and planes have been turned around). We will see. Been a great four weeks, seeing lots of remote and out of the way places in Oman and Saudi Arabia, great timing when remote and out of the way is just what’s required to hold onto your sanity, and to dodge the madness of the crowd and the rabble-rousing media (BTW, most toilets here don’t have toilet roll in these parts, so Arabs a less easy to stamped in search of paper). Tons of great memories and great people, only let down a little last night, when we had our tent stolen (along with sleeping bags, Vanessa’s clothes, Thermarests, stove, and Vanessa’s wedding ring… yes, who leaves their wedding ring in a tent!). It’s a rare thing to happen here, and typical, that it should happen now. The midnight police seemed to think it must be an outsider, others thought it might be kids, but with everything gone, we had to sleep in the car with just the flysheet for comfort (we lost our coats but didn’t put on the fly, so you win some and you lose some). But at the end of the day, although some stuff had sentimental value, like our Thermarest, which had done amazing duty for about four years all over the world, and our @montaneofficial sleeping bags (less so the wedding ring, which was only cost $70), it was just that, stuff. At times like this, when someone robs you, it’s best not to let them rob you twice, and steal away the good times as well, the bounty of your adventure you were enjoying until that very moment you saw that all your stuff was gone, but to treat it like a speed bump and nothing more. Instead of longing for your soft bed and down bag, laid in bed reading your kindle and drinking your late night tea, be thankful of the gift of less, to feel that hard monkish car boot under you, the crinkly decathlon flysheet as a blanket, the luxury of that soft laptop case for a pillow. In times like this, it’s best to focus on that Stoic idea of not wanting more, but of experiencing less, to know the value of what you have, or should I say had.