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Iceland was the last place in the world I expected to loose all my valuables. I’ve spent the last few years traveling to countries with some of the highest crime rates in the world including Honduras, India, and Brazil. All with the same equipment, and nothing like this has ever happened to me.
So when I booked a ticket to Iceland, a country ranked the safest in the world for the last 11 years, it was the last thing I expected to happen.
That was until June 21st, the night of my 30th birthday, when my worst nightmare came true.
Me, my two best friends and then-boyfriend planned a trip to Iceland for my birthday/summer solstice. As you know, I travel all the time. But I’ve always wanted to show my two best friends how amazing it is, as they don’t travel much. I finally convinced them to come with me to Iceland, my favorite country.
The first few days of our trip were amazing. It gave me so much joy inside to see them experience a different place. They were writing in a journal every day, keeping notes of what we did, and taking instax photos of all the places that we went. It made me so happy to see them discover a love of travel too.
But this beautiful trip quickly turned into a nightmare.
We went out the night of my birthday to the Secret Solstice Festival in Reykjavik, a music festival to celebrate summer solstice. We were staying at an Airbnb that was about a 15-minute walk from the festival. The neighborhood seemed safe, the building had a lock on the main front door, and a separate one to our apartment. The thought that someone would break in while we were out didn’t ever cross my mind.
After the festival, we came home and I went into the bedroom to lay down. Everything was taken out of my bags and flung around the room. At first I thought we had just made a huge mess before we left, as there were a few drinks had before the festival. But as I picked my clothes of the bed I realized I hadn’t done this – we had been burgled.
From there, it’s a bit of a blur. There was a lot of crying, screaming, and general unpleasant emotions. We called the police, and they came quickly. We had to make a list of everything that had been stolen, which unfortunately for us was a lot. As a blogger, I travel with my MacBook Pro, Sony A7 and lenses, GoPro, and Mavic Pro Drone. My friends are also photographers, and lost cameras, lenses ,and laptops. They even took the keys to our rental car and stole that too.
I couldn’t believe what had happened. It didn’t even hit me until the next day.
For the first few days I had hope they would find our belongings. I was able to track my Macbook through icloud and provide the address to the police, but they said it didn’t lead to anything. It’s been over a week now, and the detective just sent me the report with an update – that they still haven’t found anything.
They did find our rental car smashed out on the side of the road, with none of the belongings in it. One thing I’m thankful for is how amazing Enterprise was about the whole situation. They didn’t put any of the damage/responsibility on us, and gave us a new rental car right away. Shout out to Enterprise for their incredible customer service. That was a huge stress relief.
We tried to make the most of the rest of the trip, but it would be a lie to say that worked. There were a few good moments, but there were a lot of bad ones too. The whole situation was extremely stressful for all of us.
I hate that these people who did this selfish act ruined what would have been an amazing trip.
The worst part about this is that it continues to deeply affect my life.
Aside from loosing all the assets for my business, it’s also soiled my relationships. Me and my boyfriend broke up the same weekend amidst the drama. We had our problems, so it’s not that big a shocker, but it is confusing. Why on earth would someone fly to another continent to celebrate your birthday with you, bring you a ring (not with any meaning attached to it, but still), and give a speech about how great you are. Only to break up with you the next day. And then pretend to get back together with you the next day when you’re sad and vulnerable, and then break up with you again in a text message a couple days later. Good riddance, I guess.
What pains me more then that though is the impact it’s had with my other two friends. Emotions were high that weekend, as you can imagine, and right now they don’t want to see me. I do understand this, but it doesn’t make it any easier right now.
I’ve lost two of my main support systems and I feel like I’m drowning right now. Most hours I’m sobbing, and sadly the one thing that keeps me grounded is thinking back to two years ago. When I lost my Dad to Cancer, followed up a traumatic breakup with my boyfriend at the time. That was the lowest point in my life. And although right now I feel parallels to that time, I know it’s not as bad.
I survived that. I can survive this.
That is my mantra right now.
I’m not writing this for pity. I’m writing this because I am STRUGGLING with my mental health right now. And I want to be as transparent as I can about that. I could sit here and write a post about the top 10 things to do in Iceland, but that’s not what’s on my mind right now.
I’m struggling. I’m frustrated about loosing my stuff because it makes it difficult to work. But I’m 10x more upset that this awful situation happened that was completely out of our control, and that it’s impacted my most important relationships.
I feel so alone right now. I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t stop crying. I don’t even want to ask any of my other friends for help, because I’m afraid my emotions will scare them off too.
Get the right insurance.
This is the part where you ask if I have travel insurance. Unfortunately, I don’t. I have medical travel insurance through work and VISA, but not to cover my personal belongings. In most of my past trips, I’ve purchased insurance to protect my gear. I made a short-sighted decision to not get insurance for this trip due to Iceland’s safe nature. This just goes to show that crime can happen anywhere.
There’s not much we could have done to prevent this situation. It was a very unfortunate and unlikely thing to happen. The only thing we could have done to at least mitigate the outcome, was to have bought travel insurance for our personal belongings.
If you are traveling with any sort of valuables, please get insurance to cover not only your health, but your belongings. I like World Nomad’s because they cover stolen items. I’ve bought and claimed with them in the past, and they are easy to work with. Learn from my mistakes. Get insurance.
Take care of yourself. I like to pretend everything’s OK in my world, and most of the time it feels like it is. But when something really stressful happens, my reactions make me realize how not okay I am. I haven’t given myself time to even decompress from my year-long trip. I jumped back into my full-time job, and started treating my blog like a business, which as a result has turned into a second full-time job. Of course I’m happy about this, but I haven’t stopped for the last few months. It’s important to take time for yourself. To give yourself self-love, and most importantly check in with your mental health. I haven’t been, and this has been a wake-up call.
Be nice to the people you care about.
No one handled that situation well, myself particularly, and I acted in a way that I regret to the people closest to me. Unfortunately it times of great stress, it tends to bring them together or divide them, and for us it was the latter. My relationship is over, and I can live with that. The other relationships I hope I can repair, but only time will tell. I think this comes back to mental health. If you take care of yourself, you’re more likely to be able to handle stressful situations when they come up.
I had plans to write some profound post about how my 30’s are going to be the best decade of my life and how everything is so wonderful right now. I even had a draft written. But right now everything is not wonderful. Everything sucks. My life is a mess. That’s the truth.
So I’m beginning to pick up the pieces, with hope that I can build something better.