Cork, Ireland

On Getting Robbed. On the Kindness of Strangers.

My laptop was stolen from a hostel in Cork, Ireland.

There are some shitty people in this world.

Like the girl who checked into my hostel in Cork, in Ireland, who took my laptop and my credit card, who charged a train ticket and a hostel, who fled.

But let’s not focus on that person, OK?

Because there are also some amazing people in this world. More amazing people than bad ones, I think.

Like the manager of my hostel in Cork who let me use his phone to call and cancel my credit card. Who called the Garda (police) and helped talk to them with me.

Like the receptionist who poured me a cup of coffee and comped me a free night when I asked if I could stay an extra day, just in case.

Like the Australian traveler who bought me a beer and brought me down.

Like the manager of the hostel I had stayed at in Galway who gave me a discount when I told him I was coming back for a few days to use their amazing computers.

Like the two random Irish guys who I met at a bar, who bought my friends and I the “best pizza in Ireland.”

Like the guy who spent a night kissing me and then let me cry on his shoulder when it was all too overwhelming.

Like everyone at the hostel who said they were sorry, who let me ramble on, when I needed to talk.

There are more good people than bad out there.

So yes, my laptop and credit card were stolen about a month back (which is why, if you’ve noticed, my blog posts lately have been few and far between). I hadn’t backed up in a while, so I lost a lot of photos, including ones from salsa dancing in Cali. I lost a lot of files, including my logos and designs from this website. I lost a lot of peace of mind.

Afterwards, I knew I could no longer afford to travel in Europe through Christmas as I’d hoped. I had so many plans and ambitions for my blogs after TBEX and had no way to work on anything. I couldn’t even think of looking for jobs.

But, also, afterwards, I was thankful to everyone around me for being so nice, so friendly. For making me never question the fact that traveling is still what I want to do.

Not once did I think, “I want to go home.”

I spent 11 months in Asia, 6 in Central America, places people constantly warned me to be careful in. I traveled through the most dangerous city in the world. I spent a night in the fourth most dangerous city in the world. I “live” in the murder capital of the US. And I get robbed in Ireland.

There is irony in there somewhere.

If nothing else, this certainly proves that bad things can happen anywhere. So, I suppose, you can either lock yourself up and never leave your house, or just go. Wherever you want to go. And know that bad things can and do happen. But they can happen anywhere. You can’t live your life in fear. And people will go out of their way for you when you are in need.

My sister, a librarian, recently told me that she had to cancel a planned program about holiday celebrations from around the world because a patron complained that it promoted terrorism.

Because, apparently, learning about other cultures promotes terrorism.

Sometimes, in the US especially, I think, we are force fed this idea that the world is a dangerous place. That everyone is out to get you. But you really can’t judge a place, a country, by certain incidents, certain people. Because most of the people in this world are good.

And I doubt anyone would say “don’t go to Ireland, my friend got robbed there,” in the same way they might say “don’t go to Guatemala, my friend got robbed there.”

As for me, don’t worry. While I do have to return home in December now, plunk down money for a new laptop (to answer your question no, I didn’t have insurance), spend a month or two locked in my mom’s house in suburbia getting my life back in order, I still will keep traveling, still plan to meet my friend Chris in Ecuador come January or February, still have no plans to stop anytime soon. After all, there are still so many amazing places, amazing people, left to meet.

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Knit tree in Cork, Ireland

Tart and beet salad from the market in Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

The world's best pizza in Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Cork, Ireland

Gay flag at a church in Cork, Ireland

Cork Butter Museum in Cork, Ireland


p.s. A few days later, before driving from Galway to Dublin, my bus driver handed me his newspaper and told me to read my horoscope. I did. And then I cried a little. (Though, I am still waiting for that turn in luck to truly kick in…)

Irish horoscope

On Getting Robbed. On the Kindness of Strangers. My laptop was stolen from a hostel in Cork, Ireland.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • Julia
    November 19, 2013at3:55 am

    Scott and I talk about this all the time, especially to his Mum, who often worries about some of the places we go to. He always says to her “Mum, do you think anyone tells people not to visit the US even though there was a mass shooting last week? No, of course they don’t, because they’d think that was stupid.” It really is true that bad stuff can happen anywhere, and often in the places you’d least expect.

  • Ali
    November 21, 2013at7:12 am

    I’m sure it took you a little while to be able to look at things so positively, but I’m so glad you got there, and I’m so sorry some jerk stole your laptop. But yes, bad things can happen anywhere. I’ve told a few people recently how my friend Val just spent lots of time in Colombia and was completely fine but then had her laptop stolen in Ireland. Like what Julia said, do people say “don’t go to the US, it’s dangerous”? Not as much as they say “don’t go to Mexico/Colombia/Honduras/Cambodia/etc.” I’m glad you had so many great people around you to help you out and just listen. I hate that we won’t be seeing you in Berlin soon, but I completely understand. I’m sure we’ll run into each other on the road again one of these days.

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