Journaling The Journey

Was Getting Robbed A Good Thing?

Last updated on December 9th, 2022 at 06:35 am

Last year in Taranto, Italy our car was broken into and our bags were stolen. At that point we pretty much only owned what was on our backs. Think about that. That’s it! Masha posted about the incident last year but I thought I’d reflect on it and see if we have grown from the experience. As I look back, was getting robbed a good thing?  

How it All Began

Last Aug 2017 we got rid of our house, second car, motorcycle, and most everything else. We then rented a 5×7 locker and stuffed what we had left from the sales and donations in there.

Storage Locker - was getting robbed a good thing?

We threw a few bins of gear in our van with our aging furry companion Fozzie and decided to hit the road. Fozzie was really slowing down at this point so we knew we did not have that much time together. We decided to do a ‘Fozzie Bucket List’ tour. It turned out to be a 6 month tour and he loved it!

Fozzie,Masha,Rob - Was Getting Robbed a good thing?
We drove from San Diego up the coast to Vancouver. Then over to Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. We wandered around the Maritime’s and then headed back to Toronto for New Years. A few weeks later the snow storm nicknamed the ‘Bomb’ by the local news stations started to fade, so we hit the road again. This time we were in a mad dash for the warmth of the south. I think I drove a solid two days. Once we crossed into Texas we finally started to thaw out. Sadly, in Austin, TX this is where we had to say goodbye to Fozz. This was a very sad time. Losing one of the pack was very hard on us and we miss him dearly and daily. 
Fozzie With His Snow Booties - was getting robbed a good thing?

Getting Robbed

Fast forward 4 months and 6 different countries later while in Taranto, Italy I pulled our car rental up to a busy public fountain. We locked up without opening the rear hatchback where our bags were hidden from view. After a few hours of walking we arrived back at the car. I began to top up our water bottle at the fountain.

Masha went to the car and pressed the door remote only to find our stuff gone. She yelled called me over. Gone? Did we forget our stuff at the last hotel? What the!?  No windows broke? I was stunned but kinda confused. I then checked the door and saw someone punched the key hole lock through. Still in shock I found myself looking around frantically for the thieves. Stupid. They were long gone.

I looked up at the peering eyes from the balconies above. I know its not the first time they were watching someone getting robbed.  This has certainly happened in this square before. I have to say, I was at least grateful to the thieves that they didn’t break a window and I could still lock the doors with the remote.

Broken Car Lock - was getting robbed a good thing?

Getting Robbed – What to do?

We googled the local police station and coincidentally found it a block away. Poor Mash wasted 2 hours in there to gather a paper trail. Mostly for the car rental insurance and possibly credit card purchase reimbursement. Meanwhile I ran around trying to find some cell phone chargers and supplies to get us through the night. I remember later us waiting in line at a market to buy some toiletries for the night. Looking at Masha standing there with a few basics in her arms with a somber look on her face. It just killed me. It was a very emotional moment reflecting on how far we had gone from being home owning, Costco shopping, typical North American hoarders, to standing in a line wearing our only possessions, buying a toothbrush. It was a very sad moment.

It really does mess with your psyche. First, having home security and then choosing to give most of it away. Not all of it. Keeping a little bit on our own terms to feel somewhat secure. Some in a locker thousands of miles away. Some in a few travel bags, now being rummaged through by some stranger.

Grr! At this point we were left with what clothes we had on our backs and stuff in Masha’s little day pack. Thankfully we also had a little safe with a cable attached under the driver’s seat with passports and extra credit cards that were overlooked by the thieves.

Later that night we arrived at our Airbnb. Our host suggested a shopping mall where we could pick up some computers, clothes, toiletries etc. We also grabbed a cheap roller bag that we shared for the next month of travel. This is when we realized how little we really need.

Before getting robbed, we had a backpack and roller bag each. Filled with various gear like excessive toiletries, extra cameras, swimming gear, several shirts, pants, sweaters, extra shoes, underwear. Underwear!? I always laugh when I think of the SNL skit with Larry David impersonating Bernie Sanders. ‘More than one pair of underwear!?’ 


So when we got back to San Diego we emptied out the storage locker and started weeding it out. Things we thought we had to keep all of a sudden didn’t mean as much to us as we thought. We loaded up the van with the rest and drove it up to my folks place in Vancouver, BC. Even though it was an emotional connection to Fozzie for us it was also an unnecessary expense. It was difficult but it was time to say goodbye to the Panda Van.

Van Loaded Up - was getting robbed a good thing?

With the remainder of our stuff in my parents basement, it was time to prepare for the next journey. After some research we decided on the Tortuga bag. Same size as a standard carry on but in back pack form. Now we run lean. About 11.5 KG/25 LBS each. Like a turtle(Tortuga in Spanish) we now have our homes on our backs. I love this bag and will do a review later. 

Our Only Possessions

Wrap Up – Was Getting Robbed a Good Thing?

Was getting robbed a good thing? Over all I think the experience of being robbed did suck but it was the kick in the pants we needed for a full cleanse. The transition from having a house, cars, motorcycle, toys in the garage, now reduced to a backpack has certainly been a journey. I found the process of getting rid of stuff is like working a muscle. The more you work it the stronger and easier it gets. Do I miss my stuff? My toys? Hell ya! But I wouldn’t trade it for this lifestyle. Lets be honest, this lifestyle is not for every one.  But it is for us ;o) 

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  1. Hi nice to meet you guys yesterday at the fortress, safe travel and enjoy the journey

    1. Thank you so much, Glenn. It was lovely to meet you! Hopefully you enjoy your first 3 week vacation and all the toys :). Please stay in touch.

      1. This was an emotional rollercoaster of feels to read. It’s inspiring that you haven’t let it negatively affect your journey and travels. I’d have been a mess!
        And your reflections on Fozzie got me all choked up.

        Keep exploring
        Georgia – https://britvoyage.com

        1. Thanks so much for the lovely note, Georgia! Yes, Rob is a good writer and an awesome partner 🙂

  2. Loved reading your blog! What a life of freedom of stuff! Its great. We have a 24yr old granddaughter who is like you two! Keep going and keep blogging! Lynda

    1. Lynda, so great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, this is a great lifestyle – we love it but it isnt for everyone.