I’m actually surprised it took this long. Seven months on the road and not even a hint of someone trying to steal from me. There was the unfortunate food poisoning incident in Vietnam that landed me in a hospital (scary), but as far as travel catastrophes go, I’ve been lucky.
Even now, I know it could have been worse. He could have cut me with the knife instead of cutting the purse off me. My passport could have been in there. He could have grabbed my phone.
…but that doesn’t change how violated I feel. How vulnerable I feel. But mostly how stupid I feel for not being more alert.
These past uninterrupted months lulled me into a false sense of security. I was invincible. A seasoned world traveler. A global citizen. I wasn’t a tourist. Tourists are the ones who get robbed. Not me.
I’m the prepared one. I even had a backup card in place. An AMEX.
But had I really been prepared, I would have known that no one, emphasis on no one, takes American Express in Asia. I also can’t get cash from it.
For four days, I had no money…while in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. What a way to start 2017, right?
Well, I say that, but the truth is I just borrowed money. Because I am traveling with friends.
Thank the heavens. I could have been alone.
…like on the solo trip to Thailand I was in the midst of planning when I got robbed.
My mind can’t stop going there. What if I had been by myself? My mom had no way of transferring money to me. No one takes AMEX. And what if he had taken my phone? How would I have even returned to my hotel? I was “lucky” this guy robbed me a block from my apartment in broad daylight on a walk home from the local cafe.
I also keep replaying that moment he took the bag from me – from behind. It is impossible to have been more clueless or unaware of impending danger than I was in that moment.
So now I’m paranoid. All the time. Everywhere I go. I know you’re probably thinking that this is a good thing. I should be wary of the world.
…but I hate it. I’m not one to live my life in fear and now I find myself hesitant to walk to the grocery store two blocks away. I’ve stopped carrying a purse. Money goes solely in my bra. I carry my phone like a weapon, daring people to try and take it from me. My first instinct now is to Uber everywhere…even down the street.
I hope this feeling passes…that I’m back to my carefree self with a new dash of caution. Well, I probably need more than a dash.
In the meantime, I’ll make sure that my backup card is a Visa and force myself back into the world. I know in my heart and head that the majority of this planet is good.