It Can Happen to You

Firstly,

I apologize for the lack of content here. I was unimpressed with Barcelona and therefore, uninspired to write anything about my time there. I did write an itinerary for those of you who are still wanting to go one day, but I also had more pressing matters at hand. After my time in Barcelona, I complained to a fellow hosteler that I had not been writing because “nothing exciting has happened to me.”

That same night, we went out for gelato and to explore the second city on my Europe circuit, Valencia. Grace was to arrive this night and join me for the next 10 days.

After a sufficient amount of exploration, we returned to the hostel. Tim, the fellow hosteler, returned to his room, and me to mine. The problem was, however, that my key card was in my passport wallet. As I frantically searched through my bag for the wallet that contained my passport, lots of money, and my debit card (the key card was the least of my worries now) I knew… It was gone. I had not taken it out but to buy gelato and had immediately put it back into my bag.

The wave of panic that rushed over me was enormous. I thought maybe there was a slight possibility it was around the area where we had explored. I rushed downstairs to Tim’s room and blurted the news. We ran back through town together, probably looking like crazy people. Tim was running incredibly fast; I’d never seen anyone run like that outside of a race, going back to the zones in which we had spent most of our time. But by the end of the 2 mile sprint, we had turned up nothing. And within moments, I had become broke, had no identity, and went from being an American tourist to a victim of pick-pocketing. I could not believe it. I had been told by multiple people about the dangers of that here, and I had thought to myself, I’ve been to far more dangerous countries, and ultimately, I had let my guard down. The feelings I had about my mistake were, for the most part, normal, I think, regret and self-shame. The receptionists at my hostel told me one in every 1000 people are robbed in Valencia every day. I was going over and over in my mind about how it didn’t make sense. I never set my bag down, and I had a friend with me the whole time who would have seen someone acting suspiciously close to my backpack. I was furious and sad and confused. However, I had another sentiment about the situation, of which may be a bit rarer for most people to think.

After going through the motions of cancelling my card, calling the bank, figuring out where the newest US embassy was to get a new passport, Grace told me, “I don’t want this to happen to me obviously, but I’m kind of jealous -you’re free now.”

I had certainly thought about this. It’s why Chris McCandles burned all of his belongings at the beginning of his odyssey. Everything that I was upset about losing, McCandles intentionally destroyed. I suppose the ultimate freedom, at least in the eyes of McCandles, really did come at a “price” like that. To belong neither to country or money or government or any kind of institutionalized structure created the real adventure for him. And for the next couple days, (until I was able to get a replacement passport) I felt that. I would hitchhike and couch-surf, and had to go where the wind would take me, and I liked the feeling. It wouldn’t last though, because I would (at some point) like to come home to my family, to my job, to school, to the organized structures that make people feel safe. The lifestyle didn’t suit me, but it was interesting to think about.

At the end of the day, I wanted money and a national identity, and belonging to these man-made constructs that exist in the mind, made me feel safe.

I’m interested in the opinions that you, the readers, have on this subject. These are just some thoughts I wrestled with and have tried my best to put into words. If you have anything else to add, or correct me on, perhaps, please go ahead and leave a comment or contact me on a private forum such as Instagram or Facebook and I would love to have a conversation with you.

Cheers!

5 Comments

  1. Challenging questions here Summer. The freedom you speak of here, is the freedom I seek in the mountains. In those places I take full responsibility for my life. If I make a bad choice, it is my problem alone. No one else chooses my risks for me, no one is going to save me from myself.

    Please keep the blogs coming. I am so proud of you!

    Like

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