Not according to plan
I was planning for the next post to be all about the fabulous week I spent in Alicante, Spain, but instead I am writing about how I let my guard down and had my passport stolen.
Honestly, this is a post I figured I'd be writing at some point, I just didn't expect it to be within the first month of the adventure. If one plans to travel extensively, one should expect this to happen.
To be extremely cliche, it all happened in the blink of an eye. I sat waiting at the bar in the train station waiting for my connecting train. I was careless and let my guard down.
We all know our phones are a huge distraction and time suck, and today proved it so much to me. I was too busy scrolling my phone, and didn't have my sling on my body. Instead it was sitting on top of my backpack right next to me.
I felt the presence of a person that was far too close to me. When I looked up they were gone. When I looked down, I realized my bag was too.
Careless on my part. End of story.
My heart sunk immediately as the reality of the situation washed over me with the weight of the Pacific Ocean rolling over the sand. But I didn't let that initial emotion get the best of me. I immediately paid my tab, asked for the police and headed to report the incident.
Once at the police office at the station, I worked with two very kind officers to start a report. In my bag was my passport, my Covid card, two credit cards and my drivers license. Also inside were my iPad, Airpods and an AirTag.
I was already trying to track all three. The culprit had already jumped on the Metro and was many stops away. Hopes faded. My next move was to log into my credit card apps and lock the cards. Here I was given a micro win. Within minutes of locking the cards, I got an alert that it had blocked an attempt to use the card.
As the minutes ticked away, I turned my attention to what happens next. Should I stay in Madrid and try to recover my stuff, which was almost nearly impossible at this point. As the officers concluded the report, they said there wasn't much more I could do. I asked about traveling in Spain without a passport, and they assured me that with the paperwork they were giving me and the photocopy of my passport that I had, I would be just fine in Spain.
They encouraged me to board my train and go to my next destination, Santiago de Compostela. With less than 6 minutes, I ran through the train station and boarded the train with less than a minute to spare.
The train ride was four of the worst hours of my life, as I replayed the incident over and over in my head. Beating myself up for being so careless. For having my passport in the bag instead of on my person. For having the iPad not in my backpack. For not having the sling on my body at all times when transiting.
I sit now in my hostel in Santiago de Compostela writing this. I've spent the better part of the day trying to evaluate my mental and emotional state.
Was this a death blow before I even really got going? Is this dream, this life, really for me? Could I recover from this and continue on? Would I be forever skeptical of every person I see in the world? Only time will tell.
To find silver linings, I am proud that I had at least thought about this scenario and had put into practice some safety measures. I have a separate wallet with cash, another credit card and copies of my passport, which I keep deep in my backpack.
Its not the end of the world, everything lost is replaceable. At best the thief got some nice headphones to use and a totally locked iPad.
And I will uncurl myself from the fetal position and move forward. The next step will be going back to Madrid to the embassy to get a new passport. That's about all I can guarantee at this moment.
Tune in next time to see if I've chosen a new adventure.