top of page
  • Writer's picture@smalltownboytravel

Loss and Found

I was stopped by an immigration officer the moment I landed at Hurghada International Airport, Egypt. He politely requested me to open my luggage and upon discovering that I had a drone, it was confiscated as drone is not allowed in Egypt. This is the second camera that I had lost during my journey with the first is my diving camera which was stolen in Gili Air, Indonesia. Although both of them are not expensive, it's not cheap either. Strangely, I do no felt sad. Instead, a sense of relief fell upon me. I lost something but felt relief. A complicated feeling.

My belonging at the begining of the trip. Total weight? About 35kg in total

An Escape

2017 to 2019 are the most difficult years of my life. In a short span, I had lost everything from love to all the belonging that I had put all my sweat and tear into it for the past 10 years. Emotional attachment to these is what driven me to do my best. Although I face many difficulties in the journey, at least I am proud that I manage to build quite a good portfolio. Losing these make a big dent in my heart. I don't know what to do.

At this point, I lost all my hope. Felt that I am a failure, falling behind in everything and I had lost my direction. I had hit the bottom. The only thing in my mind is, I want to escape from here. Hence, I sold off all my belonging and pack the last few pieces of my belonging weighing about 35kg, I boarded a plane to escape from this land.

The Camera Guy

You might be shocked if I told you that my camera gears for this travel alone weigh at least 15kg. Yes, you hear it right. It is even heavier than my clothing. Below is the list of my gears:

  1. DSLR

  2. 2 DSLR Lens

  3. GoPro

  4. Drone

  5. Diving Camera

  6. 2 smartphones

  7. Gimbal

  8. Tripod

  9. Multiple spare battery and chargers

Because of these excessive gears, I was fondly known by people I met during my travel as the Camera Guy.

The first thing that I do whenever I reach any attraction is to find a secluded spot to launch my drone. As each country have their law regarding drone usage, I was only in constant lookout. Afraid of being caught by local authorities. The anxiety is always there.

Apart from drone, for most of the time, I switch between different camera gears. I always busy.

The Loss

I spend the first few days since losing my drone in the city of Hurghada, Egypt. This city was famed for its diving spots. This is also the first time I went diving without my drone and diving camera. But I realise... What I saw here is more than what had been captured by my camera.

With less camera to be feed, I have more time to enjoy on the moment


With less time spent on 'feeding' my camera, I have more ME times to spend on doing nothing. Most of the ME time was spend sitting down and observe what the locals are doing such as their smile. I just realise that un-scripted smile is the most beautiful things in the world. Why I do not realise it earlier? It seems like along the way, I miss out on many beautiful things.

Family life in Mongolia's steppe
Young Uzbeks
Chit chatting at Ganga, Varanasi, India
When the morning sun shine on you @ White Desert, Egypt
Camel dung throwing game at Wadi Ram, Jordan
Sunset at Kusadasi, Turkey
Sharing moment at Luang Phrabang, Laos. This young monk share whatever he had with this hungry young girl
Curious local at Ella-Kandy Train, Sri Lanka


Using the newly found ME time, I have more time to analyse the losses back at home and during the trip. And why I have the sense of relief when I lose more things. I came out with a simple answer. The BURDEN to control and clinging to these 'worldly' materials had started to slowly eat into my body and soul.

I thought it was normal for me to carry the 35kg on my back during the travel. It seems like the norm. I do not realise it's effecting my body. It actually exhausting and slows me down. As I lost more and more things during the trip, my back especially my shoulder become lighter and lighter. It gives me the strength and endurance to travel even further. I remember missing out on the sunset on top of the sand dune in the Gobi Desert by 5 minutes. I climb the dune with my gears and with the weight, my feet sink deeper into the sand and it slows me down. Had I not bring my gears, I will be able to witness this breath-taking natural wonder.

I meet with this lovely lady in Jaipur, India. She is tired from walking, so she takes a rest on this bench. Observing her, I realise, it had been a long time since I take a rest from everything. Rush rush and rush... It is worth it?

When one is dwelling on his/her possession, it prevent us from experiencing the beauty in the moment and having peace of mind.

So, I decided to change myself.

To Be Honest with Myself

My job teaches me 1 simple theory. To improve, you must admit there is something wrong. Do not pretend everything is okay when in fact it is not. Admitting that I made wrong decision and messed up with my life is not easy. The truth is brutal and it's hurt.

I know I had been carrying a lot of burden for a long time. Yet, I scared to admit it because admitting it means I had to let goes of everything I had accumulated.

Up to this point, I always thought I had full control of my life. I planned a lot and put 110% effort into realising it. So, whenever things not turning out as I expected, disappointment, sadness and anger will start to haunt me. I have never been truly happy in my life pursuit.

The next step - Knowing Myself

How well do you understand yourself? This is a very simple question but how many of us had managed to find the answer to it?

This whole episode of Losing make me realise that I am not myself. I had lost my real self for a long time. Buried under the expectation of society, family and script of what a man should do after graduation.

All along, I had been wearing a mask. I never allowed myself to cry no matter how tough the situation is. After the losses, one question had been playing in my mind. What I really want with my life - not what my parents, family, friends or society want from me.

And I found the answer from this photo that I took in Uzbekistan. This young Uzbek is wearing a worn off cap but his smile... is beautiful.

No more MASK

When life isn't going your way, you are the problem, but you are also the solution - Anonymous 

The moment you know who you are, what you want and where you want to go, no one else can stop you.

And for me, I just want to take off this MASK and rediscover my sincere smile. The LOSS had also made me FOUND myself once again.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page