As any traveler will tell you, protecting your passport and valuables is crucial while traveling. Finding yourself stranded with no money, no cards and, worse, no passport, is a travel nightmare, so precautions must be taken.
For me, my money belt was molded into my skin, ensuring any prospective thief would have to get up close and personal in order to take my passport, spare credit card and cash. My purse, my beloved Thai green floral, multi-compartmental mini-luggage, held my phone, wallet, main cards, cash, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and other necessities. My purse was my new appendage, and it went everywhere with me.
For the last leg of our Nepal trip, Naren and I were heading from Pokhara to Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, and embarked on six-hour+ bus journey.
As I had grown accustomed to, the bus was filled to the max with passengers, and as its only female passenger and its only Western passenger, I didn’t quite blend in. While the bus provided the standard stuffy, aggressive, bumpy ride I was getting used to, the mountain views were lovely, and it was a fairly enjoyable ride.
A few hours in the bus made its first pit stop, and to my disappointment, this one would take place in the great outdoors. While I usually tried to avoid taking advantage of these sorts of stops, I could not in this instance, so I grabbed my purse and disembarked with the rest of the passengers.
Now, as I mentioned before, I was the only woman on the bus and a foreigner as well – I did not need more attention. I was not just going to go outside and pee on a tree. So I did my best to walk along the road in search of some privacy.
A little ways down I found a couple trees blocking the view from the road and decided this was as good as it was going to get. I set my purse down on the small rock and began to sit and, to my horror, watched it tumble down the mountain side.
My jaw dropped as I watched my purse, with all my cash, cards and phone, bounce round and round through the leaves and trees, finally settling about 30 feet down. Though this wasn’t exactly a sheer drop, it was certainly steep enough for me to decide retrieving it would not be a wise move.
By this point, I had been gone quite a long time, and I knew the bus driver would be annoyed with me. I got back on the road and ran to find Naren, ignoring the driver and other passengers trying to urge me on to the bus. Naren explained the situation to them, and the next thing I know, he and about 10 Nepali men were following me back to my little clearing.
I really thought my purse was a goner, but to my surprise, Naren and my new retrieval team scrambled on down without a second’s hesitation, returning my lifeline in about three minutes.
I’ve been told before that things always have a way of working out for me, and like my memory card mishap before, I really am one lucky girl.
The moral of this story: if you must squat by the side of a mountain to pee, make sure you place you place your purse on a flat rock :).