Preparing for the Unexpected

I love travel because the one thing that is predictable about it is that it’s always unpredictable.

Travel brings sharp changes in perspective and stunning realizations, fleeting instances that are so fantastic you’re worried you’ll never get that feeling or that view or that “A-ha!” moment again. But much of the time, these life lessons travel brings arrive alongside with risk.

Travel comes with many unexpected obstacles. They whip around the bend when you least expect it, grabbing at you and trying to wrestle you down.

Nope, not being metaphorical anymore. I’m talking about two Vietnamese motorbike robbers/ninjas, straight out of The Fast and the Furious.

Hanoi, Vietnam about a week ago: my cross-body purse was ripped off me by two riders on a motorbike, late at night. Wallet and phone gone just like that, in one second.

I held on as long as I could, but my bag broke; I was in shock. Thankfully the group of friends I was with were all extremely calm and supportive. We got back to the hotel, I cancelled my cards and phone, and filed a police report the next day.


Trying to find these 2 thieves so I can challenge them to a duel like above (Game of Thrones Belfast Tours please ship me the sword when you get a chance)

All good, everything is replaceable, I still had my passport, and Rachel is the best friend ever and basically gave me joint access to her debit/credit cards. #TravelCoupleGoals.

But experiences like this one solidify that when in a foreign country, or anywhere really, you can’t let your guard down. Some precautionary tips for other travelers, so you don’t make the same rookie moves I did:

  1. Do not bring all of your cards out with you when you go out at night when traveling. Just bring cash. And never bring your passport. Maybe a copy of it, if you really feel like you’re somewhere where you should have it on hand.
  2. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, even if you’re in a group.
  3. Don’t draw attention to yourself. I was talking and laughing, probably loudly, while walking home. Even though this is pretty standard, I should have been more careful and self-aware.
  4. Don’t stay out too late. Make sure you’re home before bars and restaurants start closing.
  5. Ask your hotel or hostel where the most touristy streets are. This is where the pickpocketing often happens.

Very obvious lessons, I know, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. Getting robbed is frightening and a complete invasion of space and privacy, but it happens; what’s important is that you emerge unhurt and stay as calm as you can. Cards, money, phones can be replaced.

I also have to give a shoutout to PNC here, this bank has been the absolute best while I’ve been abroad. So responsive, kind, and helpful, at all hours of the night!

Has anyone gotten robbed while abroad? What did you learn from it? Comment any advice below!



2 thoughts on “Preparing for the Unexpected

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