We mostly write postcards about peak moments. Discovering waterfalls, surfing perfect waves, delightful interactions with locals. These are the reasons we travel, the highlights we dream about, and share.

But it’s the low moments, I was recently reminded, that make the peak ones all the more special. We rarely share these because they aren’t pretty, and we all just wanna be pretty.

Keen postcard observers (hi mom!) would have noticed that I recently missed a week of correspondence, specifically due to one of these low moments. Actually, there were two.

One: I was surfing a dangerous wave on a big swell and, after emerging from a long barrel that put me onto the shallowest section of the point, I hit the reef. My back got scratched to hell. My head required a few stitches and a brand new, razor-induced bald spot.

Two: A few days after I bonked my head, I got food poisoning, or something. The result was the worst sickness I’ve ever had while traveling. (And I’ve had some doozies.) This made the head injury seem like a minor nuisance in comparison.

Which it was. And for all intents and purposes, so was the stomach bug. Because after just over a week, I was back. Sure, I was 5 kilos lighter and scared to eat out, but I was alive and well in Indonesia, and that meant so much more after having been alive and unwell just a few days prior.

Floating on my pink cloud of recovery, I texted Dana, who’d gone out for crackers: “Doesn’t it just feel like a brand new day and that anything is possible?”

“Yes, honey,” she responded.

The stitches were ready to come out. My stomach was feeling stronger. Maybe I could eat something other than crackers? Maybe I was ready to chase another waterfall?