That One Time My Mac Decided to Die

Sometimes, terrible things happen when you are traveling. Today, one of those scenarios happened: my Mac went to its grave and decided not to start up when I returned home this evening. Sadly enough, I was in the middle of editing some photos for a guest post I am submitting for a very distinguished travel blog when my computer’s screen turned black, never to return again.

Dead Mac computer
RIP, my MacBook Pro.


I didn’t realize that this gloomy Rio afternoon would be the end of my sad computer.

The Symptoms

The signs were evident – a few days ago, the battery warning sign came on. After months of battery issues, where my battery would only hold about an hour worth of power, I thought finally my computer was telling me the truth about the battery weakening. Since there are no Apple stores in Brazil, I decided I could just get away with it until I returned home to the US in January. I have the AppleCare Protection Plan so I had hoped to get it serviced for free then. Functionality-wise it was still at its prime.

Then came the first round of truly sad news: just a few days ago, my battery died altogether. My Mac was rendered useless unless connected to a charger, thus turning from a laptop into basically a desktop. Think of this as my computer turning bed-ridden. Still, without the presence of an Apple store, there was really nothing I could do except wait it out until I could access service for my technical problems. I continued using the poor, beaten computer as a desktop, always plugged into the charger.

Then, today came and my Mac finally, after a long haul, petered out. To be honest, I wasn’t that surprised…it has been through a lot: over four continents, 15 countries, and a whole lot of transit, the poor thing is well-worn. But when I got the grey screen of death, I realized one thing: I hadn’t backed up my photos from Brazil. I immediately called my boyfriend in the US, Rafael, for moral support. For the entire afternoon he helped me get in touch with Apple and research ways to troubleshoot. Nothing seemed to work. Tears welling in my eyes, I felt a lump forming in my throat. All is lost, I kept thinking to myself, kicking myself figuratively in the shins for not backing up my stuff. Come on, Kay, I thought to myself, get your shit together.

Sigh, such is the life of a full-time, tech-incompetent traveler.

But never fear, because not all is lost!

Luckily, I was able to save all of my documents and photos. Why? Let me tell you a little something about the way the world works – sometimes the lessons learned from the worst things in life can end up saving you later. It’s a weird irony you learn from traveling and just living, the world works in strange ways but usually for the best.

So, after an afternoon of tears and frustration, I realized that way back in the day, my ex-boyfriend had partitioned my Mac to have a Windows component too using Boot Camp. After about 5 hours of slaving over the computer trying to make it boot, I figured this had to be the only option. I booted up the Mac, switched to my Windows partition, and grinned ever so widely when it actually loaded, giving me access to all of my “lost” files. They’re currently loading on to my external hard drive as we speak.

You may be wondering how I am blogging right now. Well, last year, after winning that one Europe contest, my mother treated me to a fantastic iPad 2 to take with me on my travels…and although I hadn’t been truly using it for blogging, I realized that there are some fantastic apps for WordPress and photo editing available. So, friends, for the time being I will be an iPad blogger and all of my photos will be iPhone photos. (At least until I can get my paws on a replacement!)

Anyway, here’s the story of my (not quite travel-related) tech-savvy Wednesday! Hooray for external hard drives, ex-boyfriends, and Windows 7. Oh yeah, and lovely Rafael, who stayed with me for over an hour on Skype relaying messages to Apple customer service for me. (You da best, ninja turtle!)

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  1. Carrie Toffoletto says


    We miss you when we have lunch at Martel. Can’t wait to see you in January. Until then – enjoy your iPad communications.

    Carrie and Frank Toffoletto

  2. says

    I totally understand your frustration over a dying laptop – my little notebook (the one I had at BlogHouse) died on me in Spokane this summer. Luckily I was able to get all my photos and files back. Glad you were able to save your files, and at least you’ve got an iPad to blog on for a while.

  3. says

    Oh wow! Who knew these things would die after all? 😛
    Sorry, can’t help but comment since my sister is so “oh my mac is immortal look at your pathetic windows laptop.”

    Anyway, your troubleshooting journey is awesome! 😀 doesn’t it just give us a satisfying feeling when we’re able to save something in the process?

  4. says

    Always a sad day when your computer dies. I have had many of those! The ending to the story is a good one. Glad you got all your files off the computer. 🙂

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