Lots of media had dubbed 2016 to be a terrible year. Politics, celebrity deaths, earthquakes and weather. 2016 as a whole, was a year of surprises. Some were life altering surprises.
Although, on a personal note, 2016 was our big year and we didn’t deem it “terrible”. We started our travelling in April and are still going. Yes, we had some serious pitfalls and some huge F up’s, but on the whole, the percentage of bad does not outweigh the good. However, the bad make for a better story. Typical.
This article does contain swear words, I think you can understand the swearing because of the situation we were in, so try not to get offended. My vocabulary is naturally full of swear words, sometimes in the other languages I have picked up on the way. Hey, travel does broaden the mind!
Our shittest moment in 2016
Let’s start with the worst and work our way back. Our shittest moment was by far when all our shit got stolen.
Yep, almost every valuable thing we owned.
The first thing that crossed my mind, was WTF! There were then quite a few more swear words, but reality set in and suddenly swear yelling wasn’t relieving me.
Walking back from Chateau Fontainebleau to our car, we were both quite happy with the last 6 weeks in France, but also enjoying the thought of heading back to England in 2 days. Back to not having to eat a baguette a day.
A nice day in a rich as Chateau…. to this…
We enjoyed our nice stroll back to our car, parked down a road in the surrounding Fontainebleau forest with over 100 other cars. Parked right next to a fancy Mercedes. We thought we lucked out on our free parking spot.
I opened my passenger door to find some small pieces of glass on my seat. Looking up, I thought a branch had fallen on our sunroof. Nope, keep looking. What do I find, but our two drivers side windows smashed in and glass everywhere!
Jacob, by this point, was rounding the car when I screamed out “FUCK!!!”
Heart racing, tears forming, I couldn’t believe it. Someone decided to help themselves to all our belongings in our car. But it isn’t just an ordinary car, it is JEDI. She is our camper, our address, our home, and our friend. She had been defiled, not once, but twice. The stupid bastards didn’t think to unlock the doors using the button but smash another window! This may be the one time I wish thieves were smarter.
Seriously pissed off (insert stronger language where appropriate)
Looking back on it now not only brings back all the memories and anger of the situation, there is also a lot of “in hindsight, we should have” Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.
We coulda hidden our belongings better. Jacob’s brand new drone in its brand new bag was sitting partially on display, although the laptop was hidden in the folded up bedding and air mattress. Turns out that wasn’t hidden well enough. They did make it to the other side of the car to rifle through the bed though, must have been pretty desperate to go through our bed. If only we had bed bugs to infect the asshats.
We shoulda paid the 25 euro parking right by the Chateau (But really, we would never pay that much for parking, ever) Especially when said parking is too tight for our wide Jedi.
We shoulda not had a big GB sticker on our car (as is legally required), this put a target on us as non-French tourists. Curse you French/British rivalry.
If only we woulda hidden our hard drives full of all our work in JEDI’s little hidden drawers, a habit that diminished whilst in Ireland.
Shoulda backed up EVERYTHING onto the cloud. Shoulda just bloody well have bought that terabyte of cloud data and considered it an investment instead of a huge $100! All raw and unedited footage shoulda been kept in two places, one of those being a fluffy little cloud.
Apparently, the glovebox is no longer the first place thieves look. Well, not these thieves. They left behind our spare Samsung S3 phone full of music and our dimwitted GPS called Ben. We now call Ben our loyal but still idiotic GPS.
Trying to comprehend what the hell just happened
Whilst sitting for nearly 2 hours in a French police station, I passed through the stages of grief more than once. Anger and depression being the most prominent. My eyes leaked a lot.
Jacob was waiting with the car, whilst I was waiting for someone who spoke English. Thankfully some kind citizens who were in the building helped translate. Whoever you are, thank you, seriously.
The police tried to convince me that I shouldn’t make a complaint, as they won’t ever find our belongings. Not willing to just let this go so quickly, I was determined to stay. The police woman couldn’t believe how much we had in our car.
Well, now what?
Time for a pity party and to wallow in the past. We had lost all hope for the future. Knowing that this would likely end our trip soon and we would have to return to New Zealand, defeated and broke. Go back into full-time work and save up for another trip. Travel version 2.0. We could not afford to replace every item we lost and still continue to travel. I had a moment of crisis as to what to do with my life. Seriously, though, what does a person in chronic pain who couldn’t suffer a full work day in an office/store etc do?
Time to move on, and move out (of France)
After purchasing some cling film, packing tape and sorbet, the lactose intolerant version to drowning your sorrows in ice cream, we had a FUCK EVERYTHING moment, taped up the windows and just drove. Stuck in the traffic-laden highways around the outside of Paris, in the torrential rain gave us time to think, whilst watching the plastic windows slowly rip away. Also, time to count up all our losses.
Drone, laptop, two 1tb hard drives (including Jacobs huge illustration project he was working on and all my photos from 7 years), graphics tablet, power bank, SD cards, portable speaker, Go Pro, camera filters, Jacobs clean clothes (not the bag of dirty clothes, woohoo, dirty clothes!), all our bathroom supplies including my GHD’s! and all our chargers, including my camera charger. As always, I had my camera with me, and just by chance I had my other lens too, I normally don’t carry this when I know I won’t need it.
About $5000 NZD worth of belongings.
This wasn’t our only fuck up of 2016
I know, there’s more!?!
A scooter crash in Thailand, in our first 2 weeks of travel, left Jacob permanently scared. I, remarkably came away unscathed. If you want a picture of the gore, let me know. I’ll give you a hint, it made me want to puke, faint and cry at the same time. But I was the nurse. I had to get over my hatred of blood, quick.
The crashing of Droney McDrone Face in a sand dune in Mongolia. It was an “I told you so” moment for me. Let’s just say, sometimes Jacob should heed my warnings about the wind. Poor little drone never quite recovered from her sand bath. So she was replaced (although we still have her) by Odin. Then poor Odin was stolen, after only 1 month of use and only a few photos uploaded to the cloud.
Potential bomb threat at Victoria station saw us running to the train to get a very expensive ticket to the airport. Luckily, we didn’t miss our flight. Although we were $70 more out of pocket. There wasn’t even a stupid bomb. Please, never, ever, ever leave your bag unattended! Then upon return our plan was delayed, missed our bus, ran through London. I nearly passed out from pain. But, we made it back to Bristol!
Then some smaller mistakes peppered throughout. The ones bound to happen. The ones we no longer care about.
Just to add another nail in the coffin, insurance covered none of this. Absolutely none of the above! However, as much as I find that annoying, I will still get travel insurance. Knowing our luck, the first times either of us breaks a bone could be soon!
What do we do now?
Our whole travel of April to December in 2016 saw us spend pretty much all our savings. Money that was meant to last a year, lasted us 8 months.
Thankfully, though, I have some pretty awesome family in Bristol (our home base in Europe) and we were able to lick our wounds, recoup and keep to our Scotland plans. They also helped us to get a new laptop, a costly piece to replace. After we replaced all our other tech and bathroom needs (minus a Drone & GHD’s), we then re-prioritised where our remaining money will be spent in 2017. But also, how to earn some more!
Plans for 2017
Currently, we have very loose plans for 2017.
Train as ninjas. Become vigilantes that patrol the Fontainebleau forest and stop thieves.
January to February sees us city-hopping through a wintery Europe. We may freeze our arses.
February to March will see us in Portugal, Spain and Morocco to defrost said frozen butts.
We are hoping that little JEDI will be up for another huge road trip too… one in Scandinavia! And if she is well behaved we will take her to Germany and Austria too.
Life is full of For Fuck Sake moments. Our theft was our biggest, and unlikely to be our last. We have come to accept that it is what it is. As wise Rafiki in Lion King says “It doesn’t matter! It’s in the past!”. We cannot change the past, so we need to learn from it and move on. It still pisses me off. I don’t think I will ever get over that.
Travel is most certainly a lesson. A great lesson of how to get yourself through different situations, how to navigate your way through your current life. It has taught us to be more self-aware and to find joy even in the shitty moments, after all, it is all part of the experience. Don’t get me wrong, we love our travelling and are very grateful that we are, hence why we are going to stick with it.
However, no amount of previous lessons would have prepared us for all our shit getting stolen.
It has been a lesson in not only, never leave things in your car, never park Fontainebleau forest and never for one minute think that the classic Kiwi/Aussie saying “She’ll be right” applies to any situation, ever.
So with that…..
Here’s to a better 2017! For all of us!
And if you see anyone stealing anyone’s shit, use your ninja arse kicking skills and kick their butts! Or call the cops…. that may be more sensible… Nah fuck it, kick their butts! YOLO!