SHE’s an independent traveller – and proud of it. Sometimes, unfortunately, it’s those of us who travel most frequently who sometimes get just a little complacent and forget the warnings we insist our groups take heed of. SHE had a rude wake up call on a recent trip – as it turns out SHE was very, VERY lucky and thankfully survived to tell the tale!
SHE was travelling in Asia, visiting a major city and on the way to a site inspection of a new hotel. Dressed for business SHE heads off, bag over the shoulder with the usual contents – wallet with all the credit cards (at last count there was 4), Imelda Iphone (can’t leave her at home!), camera for hotel pics, makeup etc. Walking along a busy city street, chatting with a colleague who was walking on the left, SHE crossed at lights where at least 50 motorbikes were stopped waiting for the change of lights (they were on our right). As we crossed on the ‘walk’ sign, chatting, watching for traffic but still involved in our conversation, a rider jumped the lights, accelerated in front of us and attempted to grab the handbag. He was determined – SHE was more determined, and hung on – rightly/wrongly – SHE defies anyone to willingly give up your handbag when a random stranger tries to take your personal property!
SHE’s still surprised SHE didn’t drag him off his bike – and is just a little sorry too! There’s no doubt he would have come out the worse for wear – SHE was carried along for a few seconds and hit the road hard when he eventually gave up. SHE didn’t even get a look at him it happened so fast. A very sore hand, grazes on the arm, knee and a ripper of a bruise on the hip that took most of the brunt of the fall – SHE considers herself to be extremely lucky that there weren’t any broken bones.
Lessons to be learned – SHE knows this was all some not-too-gentle way of being reminded of the downsides of travel in foreign countries. And to take heed of warnings in guides like the wonderful bible “Lonely Planet” so many of us take with us as a constant companion – the same one that says violent theft is rare. And yes it is. SHE broke all the rules that day – leaving the hotel with way too many valuable items in the handbag, not paying attention when crossing the road, having the handbag closest to the oncoming traffic – simple things that we often don’t think twice about. On this day, SHE was an open target for a random thief. Karma will get him.
SHE was really shaken up by this – your first reaction is you just can’t believe it’s happened to you, then you’re checking if anything’s broken, sprained, twisted; has anything been stolen – quick rummage through bag ‘oh my god what did I have in here…I could have lost it all!’. Then the anger sets in – that someone would try to steal something that’s yours – personal stuff. It’s a feeling of violation. SHE was feeling very shaky for the rest of the day – really emotional and couldn’t get back to the hotel to be in a ‘safe’ place fast enough. From what SHE’s heard they’re pretty common emotions – and not ones that SHE’s in a hurry to experience again. They passed of course – those feelings – but SHE was definitely a bit jumpy the following day and may have looked sideways with suspicion at a few too many people!
Travel is filled with experiences, it’s the reason SHE loves it so much. It’s not always easy travelling as a solo woman, we must all take care and remind ourselves that not all people are good and that sometimes bad things happen. SHE won’t let that stop her getting on that plane and visiting extraordinary destinations, nor will SHE become paranoid and let it ruin any future trips. SHE’s just had a wake up call to remember to practice what SHE preaches and leave as many personal belongings of value in a hotel safe – after all, that’s what it’s for.
Here’s to safe and happy travels for all of us.