To everyone who is travelling/considering travelling, I just want to share with you a very, very overlooked but important tip.
Please never leave your backpack unattended by yourself. Even if you are in an area with authorities. Even if you are in a crowded place where you think everyone will be able to see something suspicious happening. Even if you ask a friendly fellow traveller to watch it. Even if you have left your bags unattended before and nothing happened to them.
Just don’t do it, it is not worth the loss of anything. Be it something of value or even if it’s just your underwear. Never give anyone the opportunity to take what belongs to you.
I had my Samsung Galaxy S2 tablet stolen a few days ago. I packed it in an underneath, zipped compartment on the top of my backpack. To access it one needs to undo both clips and flip the top over. To anyone who is familiar with that model tablet will know it doesn’t come cheap due to its fast processor, high memory and of course the brand.
We had previously left our bags unattended or in the hands of others before and we never had any issues prior to this. In Dumas port, Sumatra we left our bags with a family at the port while we went off to buy our ferry tickets. By the time we came back the family had already left to board the ship and they left our bags vulnerable the waiting area! Nothing was stolen at that time however.
Another time we left our bags unattended, the same day my tablet was stolen, was at KL Sentral station, at the KTM interstate ticket counter. We had 50 people before our turn and thought we would walk around at the floor below to pass the time. We were confident with so many people around, no one would try to take our bags so we left them at the back against the wall. Plus, they were both about 15kg each in weight. When we returned our bags were as they were.
With took this confidence with us to the waiting platform for our trains. We left our bags again at the back against the wall and went into the newsagent next door to pass the time. Next to where we left our bags sat a Caucasian lady who also was a backpacker. So we were sure no one would come up to our bags with people so close by.
When we returned it was time for our train. I lifted my backpack onto my shoulders and the sounds of the undone clips clacked, the top flipped onto the back of my head. I didn’t think much into it and asked Clem to help clip them back for me.
When we were about to pass the gates to our platform I suddenly thought of doing a quick tap in my bags to make sure my tablet was still with me. I grabbed a fistful in my small bag, nothing. I tapped the top of my backpack. It felt very deflated.
I asked Clem to check if my tablet was in the top sack so I wouldn’t have to take the backpack off. He said it wasn’t there. I felt a lump in my throat and my heart suddenly felt heavy.
He ran all the way back to the cafe we last stopped at. He had 10 minutes before the train departed to run about 3 blocks and back. I was so sure he was going to come back with my tablet but he didn’t, but he made it back in time for the train.
I had the 3 hour journey to Ipoh to undergo the stages of grief for an inanimate object; denial, anger, detachment, seeking replacement and finally acceptance.