Robbed while backpacking around the world trip

Robbed While Traveling Abroad. Now what?

Robbed while backpacking around the world trip

Aw, Hell.
photo: phoney nickel

Life is a funny thing. My second night in Logrono, Spain was spent like every night in Spain: going out to bars and meeting new people- the whole country feels like a party.

After seeing a concert at Biribay, a jazz club in town, the international crowd of Logrono dispersed and made their way to the several clubs and bars of the city.

My couchsurfer and a few friends of hers headed for club Stress. As soon as we opened the doors to the club, the beat poured out onto the street, inviting our bodies to move with the rhythm.

Due to the hangover I was nursing that morning, I decided I wouldn’t be drinking this evening- but that’s not gonna stop me from doing a little booty shaking with the locals in the gay friendly bar.

Two hours of moving and grooving and it was time to hit the next bar. Our group moved to the door, and I looked to the floor where I saw an Action Wipe. I knew I had one in my purse, how funny that I should see a local product on the floor in Spain... oh… oh God. It hit me like a ton of bricks moving in slow motion. I kept my eyes on the Action Wipe, offering a silent prayer that somehow the people of Logroño were ahead of the trend and already using them, but I knew what I would find as I reached my hand to my side and put it into my purse … nothing.

I rested my head on the cold marble pillar of the club for a few seconds, gaining strength to open my eyes and face my new world. When I opened my eyes I realized exactly what this meant. I have no cash, I have no passport, I have no identification or means of getting money- in a word, I am screwed. Somehow the optimist in me won over in these moments- I rushed to the restrooms and scoured the dance floor, hoping the thieves took the 500 euro in cash and discarded the only thing I cared about- my passport. I checked outside of the exits and asked the barkeep to keep his eyes out after closing in case it turned up.

The camera I had purchased 4 days ago in Barcelona, all my papers, my cash, my ATM card, the USB stick where I kept the copies of my documents– and even my makeup – gone. I let the wave of nausea take me over for a second, but realized what’s done is done. I couldn’t turn back time and leave everything at the house (as I should have), nor could I wish my passport back into my possession. I could share some laughs with the Moroccan, Latvian and fellow American as we walked towards the police station though.

The officer said it was best to go home, cancel the card and come back in the later morning (as it was 3am). It is only through sheer luck that I was couchsurfing at this time, otherwise I would have to return to a hostel I couldn’t pay for with quite literally, 2 euro and 45 cents to my name. Stephanie immediately told me I was welcome to stay as long as I needed to sort everything out- which was more of a relief than I can put into words. I cannot fathom this moment in my life without the beauty and blessing that is couchsurfing.

We went back to the house, and I canceled my ATM card, but did not cancel my passport, as I am still holding out for someone to return it. I might be naive or foolish (both?) but I truly believe there are more good people than bad in this world, and there is a chance a good person will find it.  A girl can hope. So now I must wait in Logrono for my ATM card to be mailed from USA, at which point I have to rush to the embassy in Madrid to get a passport (without any form of ID) so that I am able to continue to my dear friends wedding on the 31st of this month. I guess you could say I am stressed.

Then, I looked into my travel insurance policy and realized it (naturally) doesn’t cover loss of cash, passport, or personal items that were stolen. It makes perfect business sense, and I have to understand it- but when those words sunk in, I realized what that truly means for me… no more Europe. In one night, more money was taken from me (factoring in passport replacement costs) than I have spent the entire trip to date. My mind and heart, are reeling.

After Ana’s wedding in Gran Canaria (if I can get a cheap airline ticket) I will be heading out of Europe. I won’t let this incident interfere with my dream- which is to see the world- but I will let it steer me in a new, unknown direction. I don’t know what area I am headed to now, it largely depends on a cheap flight or a boat hitch… but I know that I cannot afford to hang around Europe as long as I had intended to. This means no harvest in Italy, and while that stings- it means many more things that will be more wonderful than I can imagine.

By sheer luck, Stephanie owns The Alchemist and I picked it up this morning looking for a little escape. Immediately the story throws me into a parallel world, of a shepherd who sells his flock to make his dreams of travel come true and is robbed along the way. It takes him on an unexpected detour which turns out to be more of a blessing than his original plans. So, with a little sorrow in my heart, but adventure in my veins I’m playing darts with a world map…

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. “ – The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

Brandy Bell loves adventuring around the world. She’s been a solo female traveler since 2006 and has visited over 25 countries, made countless international friends, and now writes to inspire you to travel in a sustainable and responsible way.

'Robbed While Traveling Abroad. Now what?' have 21 comments

  1. May 16, 2010 @ 7:50 pm Katie Ford

    My love! That must be so stressful! Can I send you some feel good cookies? Or mascara? Everything will work out the way it’s suposed to <3 keep your head up 🙂


  2. May 16, 2010 @ 9:30 pm Paula

    Oh Brandy. . .


  3. May 16, 2010 @ 10:27 pm Abby

    Oh, no! I got robbed the same way in a nightclub in Spain, but my stuff WAS found on the bathroom floor. (Everything minus the cash.) It was the worst feeling! Did you have copies of your passport in another location? You’re off to bigger adventures — I can feel it. I always spread my important things out in different locations, but that’s so hard as a backpacker. My heart just goes out for you! You will love Gran Canaria though — and all of the places you visit after this disaster.


  4. May 16, 2010 @ 11:08 pm Christine

    Ohhh my gosh. I feel so incredibly bad for you, but I think you’re definitely approaching things with the right attitude. Nothing to do about it now but figure out how to move on! I’ll be sending lots of good travel vibes your way 🙁


  5. May 17, 2010 @ 4:37 am Barbara G

    My heart aches for you..I know how devastated and violated you must feel. I also know that you are going to make some lemonade!


  6. May 17, 2010 @ 9:22 am Olga…:(:( I am with you girl…


  7. May 17, 2010 @ 5:52 pm Aunt Donna

    Man, what a bummer! I lost a passport abroad, but it was pre-911 and I had a copy so I got back into the USA, no worries. I do love how you turn the bad into the best it can be! What a great trait to have and one I hope my girls can get as well.


  8. June 2, 2010 @ 5:18 am Kelly Sheehan-Funk

    Are you ok? Let us know if we can help. Sending light for the highest good. Could probably send a little cash. Take care of yourself. Glad you are living your dream. Big hug. Love, Kelly and David


  9. June 11, 2010 @ 12:30 am Ashley

    I sometimes have to be reminded that some of the worst things even happened, because I’ve adopted the same optimistic view as you have: Figure out what to do next and make the best of it, no sense panicking because it won’t help move forward. Someday you may even forget your stuff was stolen! You have already lived through much worse, hun, you will be okay!! Always move toward the steps ahead.


    • June 11, 2010 @ 1:59 am livevicuriously

      panicking never helps (though it sometimes feels good)… what’s done is done- the best option is just to hit people with shoes 😀


  10. June 12, 2010 @ 1:08 pm Jen

    Love that book. Eli lent it to me and really a sense of peace came over me.

    Hope you recover a passport.


  11. July 15, 2010 @ 7:13 pm 14 or 15 MORE things I’ve learned while traveling « Que Sera Sera

    […] guilt. 19. Leave for appointments early, leave the bars late, and leave the passport somewhere safe! Unless you want to get your passport stolen while you’re dancing with gorgeous Colombian boys. […]


  12. September 9, 2010 @ 5:05 am nick smith

    stumbled across this website by sheer cooincidence. what a story! I am english and live in Malaysia, anytime you fancy couch surfing in Malaysia, you are more than welcome!


    • September 11, 2010 @ 4:17 pm livevicuriously

      hey Nick…. Malaysia is actually quite high on my list. Where in the country do you live? 🙂


  13. September 20, 2012 @ 6:22 am Traveler’s Nightmare #612: Stuck Without A Dime | The Nomadic Family Travel Blog

    […] where I enjoyed one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. (You can read more about the robbery in Spain here.) Brandy Bell – It’s One World […]


  14. November 8, 2012 @ 1:56 pm Granada, Spain- I love you. | It's One World...Travel

    […] I was waiting for my passport and money situation to sort itself out, I wasn’t feeling like writing- and I couldn’t […]


  15. December 12, 2012 @ 10:56 am Olympia Greece - Finding an Apartment | 30Traveler

    […] invited post was by Brandy Bell of It’s One World Travel. Brandy grew up in California, had a lovely job in the wine industry and left on a round-the-world […]


  16. December 14, 2012 @ 9:58 pm Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS IS HAPPENING! I was robbed at Stress last Thursday! The perp only made off with my phone, but the fact that this could have happened to two people in the same place is just more coincidental than words.

    Wishing you all the best, Brandy – let me know if I an help from Seville at all! Ánimo!!


    • December 14, 2012 @ 10:05 pm brandy

      Oh man! What a rip off. I wonder if the clubs owners know, I mean- they have to- did you report it? How did you make out in the end? Hope it all worked out.


  17. December 15, 2012 @ 2:16 am Lauren @ roamingtheworld

    Brandy- So sorry to hear!
    Just found your blog through Cat!

    What a well written post for something so maddening, frustrating and sad! You have a great outlook on life and way of handling things. I too, believe there is something better awaiting you!
    May things start falling back into place soon!
    And a great book to read, especially right now!


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