It could be the plot of a cheap paperback novel. A long-lost diary belonging to a group of Kiwi backpackers who shared a wild trip through Southeast Asia in the 1990s, returned to them over 20 years on.
However, that's exactly what happened with the help of an online travel forum. The lost diary was a compelling mystery that instantly set Australian travel Reddit alight.
Ten days ago Reddit user DoubleRiver started a thread titled: "I found someone's amazing travel journal. Please help me get it back to its original author." In it he shared the first 16 pages of the scrapbook.
The only things more intriguing than the title of the post were the first words of the diary:
"If you're about to read this Bloody don't!" Inside was a story promising to "freak out the freakiest of cats at the best of times".
The finder – David Ryan - said it had been left at the back of a cupboard in a rental in west Melbourne. As far as Ryan was aware it might have been there ever since the final entry, 20 years ago.
"It was written mostly in 99-2000 and it makes me feel weirdly free perusing it. I bet the author would love to relive these memories," Ryan wrote.
In impeccable handwriting were episodes that captured the spirit of Khao San Road in the late nineties. Multi-day bus journeys and the "colourful array" of transport though Malaysia, the trip documents experiences that now seems the heyday of carefree travel. Around the margins are doodles of trips to the "freakout zone" and "Nick saying no to Drugs" in Thailand.
Whoever Nick was, he was apparently the owner of the diary and - at some point - he had parted with his travel writing in Australia.
How the diary had ended up in a flat in Yarraville was a mystery, however the web sleuths decided its owner came from New Zealand.
The writer described "following the Kiwi OE hordes to London & Europe."
A lot of the characters sharing the adventure also seemed to be Kiwi backpackers - Si and Kris, "Tony From Wanaka".
Then there was another clue penned in the back of the diary. Whoever had written it was musically minded. At the back of the book were a collection of rhymes, comic songs and a "travellers ditty" that somehow seemed familiar.
The names and lyrics had struck a chord with internet sleuths who decided pointed towards an Auckland musical quartet called Ziko.
Mentioned throughout was Kris Baudry, a name shared with the drummer of the band.
It seemed like a long-shot. But, according to Ryan, it was one that paid off.
Ziko, who had last recorded an album in 2012, had little to no presence online. Ryan was eventually able to track down the band member via Facebook.
Coincidence or not, there was also a Nick in the band – keyboardist Nick Boyle.
"After several days of dead silence across the board, I finally got a response from one of the people I messaged on Facebook who shares the same name as a member of the band. This person now lives in Germany so I was not certain it was the right guy. Anyway, they just replied with "try firstname.lastname@example.org."
Ryan fired off an email to Nick's address with pictures of the diary, asking:
"Is this Nick Boyle? I found an old travel journal which I think may belong to you."
Nick's reaction was priceless, and made the hours of investigation worthwhile.
"Holy heck! That is mine!" came the response. "Where did you find that? That's amazing! Thanks so much for getting in touch. Where are you and did we ever meet?"
Ryan was able to post the diary and it's scrapbook souvenirs back to Boyle who now lives in South Australia. However it was the new journey it had been on that made his scribbles even more intriguing.
Boyle was able to pore over the forum thread and see the second life his travel diary had found online.
"Thank you so much for all that effort," wrote Boyle. "I hope that was a somewhat intriguing and enjoyable ride for you too."