So girls,

Some serious BS has happened to me this past week. Last week in Amsterdam someone stole my bag from the back of my bike (while I was riding it) and then dropped it somewhere after taking out my laptop, an external hard drive with tons photos and 300 euros cash. That…..sucked. But life goes on so I bought a new Macbook and told myself that I was lucky to at least still have my phone and my camera. Until yesterday at 6am on the night train from Milan to Rome when someone got my bag AGAIN, this time stealing my brand new Macbook, my cherished Canon 5D (€3000 with the lens) and €100 in cash.

The whole thing is such a tragedy that I am literally at a loss for words. I think I lead a pretty great life and have always been lucky with stuff, so things like this simply don’t fit into my world as I live and understand it. I also believe in karma, so I’m kind of questioning mine right now. However, to put things back into perspective, I am still lucky in many ways. I have the job I always wanted (which actually allows me to go out and buy yet another laptop and another camera and lets me travel through Amsterdam and Italy within 2 weeks), I have friends who show their support offering help and I’m healthy. No one threatened me at gunpoint, or gave me drugs or hurt me. And I suppose it’s even some luck they didnt simply take the whole bag with my i-D’s in it (strangely enough, the train thief didn’t take my iphone, err, thanks for that).

Karma means believing that everything happens for a reason. For now, let’s just say that the reason this happened to me is that I can write about it on Travelettes and maybe put out a sign of warning for those among you traveling with valuables.

When traveling, never be fooled into believing you are safe because you’re traveling Europe (that’s what I did, i’m way more careful in South America or Asia).

– If you take a night train, sleep with your bag on your bed using it as a pillow or putting your arm around it and/or wrapping it in your sheet. It also helps to ask for the upper bed as their harder for thieves to reach.

– When riding a bike, do not leave your bag in the basket behind you as someone can take it without you noticing. Better wear a bag you can wrap around your body or find a bike with a basket on the handlebar.

– Do not leave your valuables in a cotton tote bag. Thieves might cut them open from behind and take our your wallet.

– Refrain from wearing bagpacks, I have often watched thieves freely opening them and taking out whatever they pleaes without the wearer noticing.

– In restaurants, internet cafes and anywhere really, never ever put your bag next to you, between your feet or anywhere where your eyes can’t see them at all times. Always carry your bag on your lap.

What I have learned is to simply cut down on traveling with valuables. If you have a lot, you have a lot to lose and vice versa. Carry your cash and i-D in your money belt and refer to internet cafes rather than bringing your computer. If you have a hotel safe, leave it there. Never carry more cash than you can handle losing and keep your credit cards in separate places so you have a backup if your bag gets snitched.
If you do travel with your laptop, make sure it’s password protected so the thief cannot access your data or even reinstall a new software without your password.

When you do fall victim to theft, go to the police instantly filing a report. When you return to your home country you must see the police there, too. Before you leave on your trip find out if your valuable are insured and to what conditions and if necessary get a good insurance. If you take your computer make sure you make a backup copy with all your files which you leave home.

Please share stories that have happened to you, so other people can learn from them.

Save travels,
Katja

n654741052_2260917_4149016Me at a bar somewhere in Argentina. Back then i owned nothing of value that wouldn’t fit into my money belt.