This post is part of a L’appel Du Vide feature, Misadventure Mondays. In each segment, I’ll ask one of my favorite travel bloggers to share one of their Travel Misadventures. This Monday, Jackie DesForges from Jackie Travels shares her tale of getting robbed at the French Riviera.
Tell me a little about yourself and your current trip:
Hello! My name is Jackie and I spend most of my time googling pretty places I’d like to visit (sometimes this is substituted with that game where you close your eyes, spin your globe, and put your finger on a random spot to see where you end up. Repeatedly. While drinking wine.), and writing about travels past and present for anyone on the Internet who will humor me. I also intern for Vagabundo Magazine as well as a hostel in downtown Chicago. I’ve just returned from a month-long trip to Spain, Portugal, and Gibraltar (the latter being the highlight. What’s not to love about a giant rock and freely roaming monkeys?). I try to take a few trips each year, and when I’m not out traveling I am home in Chicago working in the travel industry (which is half awesome and half torture, as I inevitably get extremely jealous of all the travelers I speak with at work).
Describe your travel style:
Frantic. Everything stresses me out and I am always lost. But at least that always keeps it pretty interesting? I travel in spurts and have a home base, and I’m not sure I’d ever like to be a permanent nomad. I enjoy decorating my house too much.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure? Tell me about where you were, who you were with, and what happened.
My worst misadventure was probably when I was robbed of about 300.00 during a stay in the French Riviera. It was taken from my room when I was out one evening – the robber reached into my makeup bag, picked up my passport, took the cash and for some reason left my passport behind, which was at least somewhat of a silver lining.
But that’s such an unsettling way to be robbed, to have someone infiltrate the place where you feel the safest (Although I guess there isn’t really a comforting way to be robbed, is there?). Some of my roommate’s money was taken as well. This occurred when we were studying abroad and were staying in a guesthouse for a month. We never found out who took it – if it was another student, or a member of the staff working there, or an intruder from the outside. Scary!
Considering that that’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me while traveling, though, I think I’m pretty lucky – at least I’ve never been sick or seriously injured or anything! (Probably just jinxed myself.)
What were the negative or positive outcomes of your misadventure?
Negative: That was so much money for me to lose at the time. And I felt so jumpy and unsafe in that room for the rest of the trip – if someone was able to get in once and take something from me, what was to stop him or her from doing it again? Positive: During a very hysterical phone call to my parents, they reminded me that yes, this sucks, but money is just money, and at least I hadn’t gotten hurt and I still had my passport. In the grand scheme of things, worse things could have happened. Since then I have been careful about my belongings to the point of paranoia, and I haven’t had anything else taken from me during a trip.
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
TRUST NO ONE. Kidding. Mostly. Just always be on the alert! Before that happened, my room felt like the safest place ever, and I was careless about keeping my valuables hidden away. Now I am overly cautious about everything, not just my money, and I think it’s made me more confident as a traveler because I know I am always on the alert and ready for anything.
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
Just because something bad happens doesn’t necessarily mean that the rest of your trip – or your view of traveling in general – has to be ruined. I was able to rearrange my budget and have a great time for the rest of that trip, and I didn’t let it make me afraid to keep going or to be out in new places on my own. Bad things happen, but you have to trust yourself and have faith that you can handle them when they do.
Thanks Jackie for sharing!
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