You might have gathered from these posts that I’ve been bitten by the Honduras bug and I’m finishing up some coverage that I didn’t get around to after my trip last summer. Onto an uplifting post regarding travel theft!
It was bound to happen sometime. When you strap your important possessions onto your body and fling them out into the world by traveling with them, you are in a way at the mercy of the universe to let those possessions eventually come back home with you.
And usually they do. But sometimes, you let your guard down. Sometimes, you are with some of your best friends from home, and the world seems ridiculously warm and wonderful. Sometimes, you assume your boyfriend is watching your bag which isn’t really fair considering you didn’t in any way ask him to. Sometimes, you have had too much to drink. Sometimes, your purse gets stolen right off your seat.
the night in question
I’ve been very lucky. Up until this incident I had traveled with expensive cameras, a flashy smart phone, a wallet full of plastic, and occasionally a computer without so much as a hiccup. The thief didn’t get away with much, save for a one of my favorite travel bags, some sunscreen and lipgloss, about $15USD, the sole existing key to our guesthouse room, and a bit of my dignity.
I remember the greatest emotion I felt at the time was relief, relief that it was my purse and not one of the three girls’ with me, as they were carrying cameras, wallets, and passports. But later that relief morphed into embarrassment as I realized I had no one to blame but myself. (Well, I guess the thief can have a bit of the blame as well.)
I had been warned by a group of travelers in La Ceiba that their purses had been stolen in Utila while they were out dancing. I had been told by my guesthouse owner about silly travelers who left things unattended and were relieved of them. I had reached double digit foreign passport stamps, studied abroad in Central America at 16 and gone to South East Asia by myself at 19. I considered myself a fairly savvy traveler. And this was a crushing blow to the ego.
I have felt my travel paranoia increase over the years as my valuables get more, um, valuable and I lose some of my naivette about the world. While I yearn for the carefree days where I barely locked my bungalow (just kidding Mom!) I can’t imagine not being able to record my travels and find employment through my cameras and computer. I now travel with a Pacsafe and a Kensington laptop lock and insure all my electronics on my parent’s homeowners insurance. However, there is simply no substitute for remaining aware of your surroundings, keeping your possessions in sight when you’re out and about, and heeding the advice and warnings of your fellow travelers.
Have you ever been robbed when traveling? What steps do you take to protect yourself and your stuff? (Seriously, I want your advice!)