On December 1st, 2018, I woke up to a robbed hotel room. My camera, lenses, laptop… everything I require for my livelihood.. gone.
A normal seeming day turned into a whirlwind disaster that felt like the ultimate cherry on top of a very challenging year for me. After dinner I came back to my hotel room, I awoke, glanced around and noticed something I had overlooked before resting. Over $8,000 worth of my gear was missing. As the blood rushed to my head, my blood turned cold. How had this happened? My heart shattered as tears began to fall.
Today, I wanted to share my experience of getting robbed abroad with the hopes to share the lessons I’ve learned from this horrific event.
Needless to say, I’m still so thankful that I was not hurt or violated physically. So many things could have gone even worse than losing material objects… but, it goes without saying that this type of incident was an ultimate violation of security and safety. The courage I once felt from being able to explore Paris on my own was replaced by anxiety and fear. I found myself feeling so afraid walking the streets of Paris when I once was empowered by living in Paris alone. I began to question everything. As an advocate for solo female traveler’s safety, I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I was devastated. The overwhelming sense of sadness and loss was so hard to deal with.
Even worse, I received absolutely zero help from the hotel (La Pigalle Paris) or the French police. No cameras in the hallway to view, no remorse or apologies. Nothing. I felt completely isolated, violated and betrayed. How could any place not show any concern for their patrons? “Here’s your police report, there’s nothing else we can do at this point, it’s just for insurance purposes”.
The one take away from this lesson that I want to really push for is this – never skimp on travel insurance. It may seem like a frivolous expense to add when planning your adventures… but it can be a literal life-saver when you’re traveling in a foreign country.
A $50 policy can include $500,000 of Medical Evacuation coverage! But it’s important to read the fine print (or talk to someone in the industry) to really understand what you’re purchasing. For example, most comprehensive policies include thousands of dollars for Baggage Loss coverage but it’s important to note there’s almost always a special limitation on cameras and electronics (usually around $500). Do your research. Trust me when I say, it’s worth it.
The wonderful folks at Yonder Insurance were a guiding light throughout this whole horror. And I’m so thankful for the time and effort they put into assisting me through this. Their kindness and attention they gave to my case restored so much of my hope. I couldn’t love or recommend a travel insurance company more! Do yourself a favor and book a plan with them next time you’re traveling.
The businesses I respect the most are the ones with heart and soul and Yonder is defintely one of those businesses. Founders Terry and Ryan returned from a trip to Myanmar where they witnessed the struggle of the refugees, with a commitment to provide a week’s worth of food to a child refugee for every policy sold. So you can travel well, and do well when you go Yonder.
In addition to giving Yonder a HUGE thank you, I’d also like to give a big shoutout to Adorama, who kindly helped me with replacing some of my equipment. It’s the companies like this that helped me change my perspective and feel more grateful than ever for the good people in this world.
I hope if you’re reading this that you can see just how important your safety is while traveling. There certainly are beautiful moments and life changing experiences to be had while abroad, but its so, so crucial to be prepared and informed on safety and never overlook your well being when exploring. Now that some time has passed, I can look back at this experience and acknowledge how much personal growth has occurred for me. I’m still so empowered by traveling solo around the globe, and I have a keener sense of personal and material security. My anxiety and fear has slowly adapted into deeper awareness and less nervousness. As days and months pass, I’m reminded what joy and beauty comes from travel… and that although this experience was painful and sad, I am capable of moving past it with grace and courageousness to learn more from this world.
Thank you so much for reading my story. I hope from the bottom of my heart that none of you ever have to experience getting robbed while abroad (or any other type of safety issue).