While looking up at the towers of the Sagra Familia in Barcelona, browsing the shop windows of Milan’s Via Montenepoleone or riding a European style trolley in San Francisco, it is easy to get distracted and far easier for a pick-pocket to get his/her job done. Tourists and new comers are not the only victims, native city dwellers fall victim to street crime every day.
In my twenty-so years of traveling, much of which I have done alone, I have had a few unsavory experiences, nothing major, but unpleasant enough that now I am more on guard when traveling. Once, while checking in at Barcelona airport, I placed my hand luggage beside me and when I turned around, it was gone. Now I keep bags sandwiched between my feet if I have to place them down. In Milan, my little flap-bag had been flipped open and emptied. I realized in hindsight that it must have happened when the tram jostled and jerked. In Paris, I quickly jumped out of a metro car when I realized the man in the reflection behind me had been following me. Last but not least, in Manchester, relaxing having Christmas drinks with my sister, my wallet was taken from my bag. I later found out it was the couple at the table behind us. The woman was being silly and giggly creating a distraction, while the man, scooted back and reached into my bag hanging on the chair! They left without ordering and I only realized afterward when the bill arrived. Now, I keep my bag on my lap at all times.
It can happen in any city and it can happen to anybody. The important thing to remember is that it can happen, but it shouldn’t take anything away from you enjoying your travels.
Luckily, I haven’t had any other ‘episodes’ and I plan to keep that way!
More from living