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Posted on Sep 20, 2012

Traveler’s Nightmare #612: Stuck Without A Dime

Traveler’s Nightmare #612: Stuck Without A Dime

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There are two things you typically hear about travel: how perfectly lovely and romantically fairy-tale it was OR how horrifically end-of-the-world worst-case scenario it was. This is a bit of both. Travel is unreal, widens your horizons, tickles you senses, and pushes you way out of your comfort zone. Travel is also you being vulnerable to whoever, whatever, and whenever happens, without all the safe cushions you are used to falling back at back home.

“I’m so mad that you stole my wallet! I’m going to write a letter!” Yeah. Ok. Should I tell you what you can do with that letter?

As we are currently in Siem Reap, Cambodia, two weeks ago, all of a sudden, our card was rejected by most ATM’s in town.  Not only did we have only few bucks in our pockets, but also our bank could not explain why this was happening.

So, we asked some traveling friends if they have ever been stuck somewhere with NO MONEY! Have they ever been stranded, in the middle of God-knows where, with nothing to pay with, and what they did. Check out these sweet tales of being in a bad situation, and using your ingenuity, street-smarts, and the kindness of strangers to get by.

 Robbed In Spain

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In 2010 I was robbed of all cash, credit cards, and my passport in Logrono, Spain. Fortunately I was Couchsurfing at the time, and my host loaned me money, allowed me to stay while I sorted out banking details and documentation. That night, I read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, and read about a fellow person on a journey who was robbed of everything, but turned out to be richer for it in the end. I was inspired, and allowed my travels to move me to Morocco, where I enjoyed one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. (You can read more about the robbery in Spain here.)
Brandy Bell – It’s One World Travel

Forgotten Wallet in Dominica

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This happened to us on our recent trip to the Caribbean island of Dominica. Our schedule was hectic and we left for our day’s activities very early, only to realize I’d left my wallet back at the hotel, which was an hour’s drive to the opposite side of the island. Luckily, our driver/guide Oris Campbell was extremely cool and loaned us money for lunch and shopping, so I was able to buy my daughter some souvenirs. It was indicative of the generous spirits we found in all the Dominicans we met. Thanks, Oris!

Stranded Sex in Tikal, Guatemala

About twenty years ago, way before kids, Kobi and I were backpacking through Central America. We were about to leave Guatemala, when a well-intended expat told us it would be a sin to be in her country, and not experience Tikal. So, we went and suffered on the ‘express’ 14 hour cockroach-infested pot-holed road way there (Kobi gave his seat to an elderly woman, and lay in bed for a week afterwards); missed the sunset from the overcast; and found out that our ATM wasn’t working and no one accepted credit cards (they all wanted cash). So, we survived on barely-enough water, a can of tuna, one loaf of bread, and six apples for our four days there, to save enough cash for the bus ride back. Besides really crazy, spontaneous monkey-wild sex in the jungle (kid you not!), our experience sucked beyond measure. (But, maybe because of the rest, the sex was 20-years-later-remember-when that amazing!)
Gabi – The Nomadic Family

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Starving in Petra

 I wanted to go to see Petra in Jordan but my travel friend and I had run out of money in Egypt so we went to Amman first, the capital city of Jordan, where we planned to use my credit card to withdraw money from a bank. Of course going to Amman added hundreds of miles to our journey and we’d go home with a debt but never mind, this was our one big chance to see Petra and we must take it. But it turned out none of the banks in Amman accepted credit cards. Not one of them. So we were stuck there for five days while we waited for my parents to wire us money with no money staying a hotel that was basically rubble and eating very little. No fun at all but we did get to see Petra in the end and learned a good lesson about credit cards and how they aren’t always a magic source of money.  (Photo from Indiana Jones)

Annabel

 

Broke and Thirsty in the Red Sea

Just once. I had decided to get the ferry from Egypt to Jordan with a few travelers I’d met in Sharm – we were all solo travelers who wanted to share the experience of Petra. Sounded like a great idea. Until we got to the ferry terminal and one of the others announced he didn’t have enough to buy a ticket. Turned out he didn’t have any money at all. The girl he was with only had enough to get her own ticket, so I ‘lent’ him the money for his. We had just spent a week diving together, and I thought connected, so why wouldn’t I? This meant we had no money to buy food, or the more important water. We had one bottle of water between the three of us. The trip was only meant to take a few hours on the slow ferry, but because we sat in the port for two hours – in the blazing heat (even though we were in the shade it was still stifling hot) – the trip ended up being four hours. Long story, short: I became severely dehydrated, fainted (for the first time in my life) on top of a sand dune in Wadi Rum, landed on my camera, which gave up the ghost just as we were entering the treasury in Petra, ended up spending the rest of the day shaking and puking. Not the experience I was hoping for. And I never did see that money, or the man again. Result: When other travelers claim bankruptcy I’m not so keen to part with my last pennies… and always put water first! 

Linda


Get In the Hot Spot

Got any crazy stories of being stranded without a dime? What did you do? Did you have wild monkey-sex in the middle of the jungle? I admit, not conventional; but, it was one way to deal with the stress of it all. Tell us, we’ll listen, and try not to laugh at you (aloud).
Gabi and Kobi

Images courtesy of adamr and dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

comments

10 Comments

  1. I’ve been robbed, in Australia, but they didn’t get my money only cameras, jewellery, all my treasured photos of my babies ( sob!). Different story…. we weren’t exactly stranded, but we once spent a week on Koh Samet in a hut on a very tight budget, tinned tuna, a loaf of bread, same as you and yes, great sex ( did I say that aloud ?) it passes the time!
    Having no money does wonders for your sex life.

  2. Todd and I once wound up on a small Greek island and had to dig out our last Euro change to pay for our hotel and ferry off the island. We’d been told there was a bank on the island that would cash our travelers’ checks — there was, but it was closed for a week for holidays. We’d been told that a hotel or big restaurant would cash our travelers’ checks — they would, but only once the bank reopened. This was before ATMs really were a thing for travelers.

    Another time all the ATMs in Essaouira, Morocco stopped working or ran out of cash. There’d been a run on them from crowds come to town for a big festival. We were among the few lucky ones that had enough cash, because we’d learned to always carry at least 3 days of cash, and at least enough to get to the next town. We keep that stash somewhere safe, separate from our wallets, and only dip into it in an emergency.

  3. So I’m not the only one! Happened to me in Taipei. ATM didn’t work, most exchange bureaus were closed because it was Sunday and the only one that was open didn’t want my AUD or CAD. I didn’t have any USD with me! I ended up pretending to read a book at a bookstore, secretly appraising other customers for signs of helpfulness. I must’ve looked really suspicious. 2 South African guys agreed to exchange my money & I got to the airport in time for my flight!

    • oh beautiful deia (loooove that name!how do you pronounce it?) you are not alone girlfriend. we’ve done it more than once and it’s always impossible how we someone live off a can of tuna for three days and make it out alive. you pretended to read a book in the book store. oh i would have thought you were the dangerous kind of stalker. thank god for south african men and them being your angels! god, what a nightmare. not fun at the time, but hysterically funny after, well, well, well after. 🙂 thank you for commenting and visiting. can’t wait to see you on fb too dear. are you on triberr?

  4. When Baris and I were in Rio at the Ipanema beach, we met a couple of really friendly guys. They offered us beer, laughed and talked with us, made us feel comfortable enough to slip away to the water to swim together, leaving our stuff on the crowded beach. All was well and good until I got hungry. We went to a restaurant ordered food and then discovered that our wallet was missing. What is worse is that we usually carry things separately but because I am absent minded, Baris had put all of our cards in his wallet. Yep, I know, let’s not go down that road. The restaurant comped our meal, though they had never seen us before.

    It was our last day, we had to pay for our room and travel to the airport the next day, not to mention eat. I remember springing into action, calling the bank in Turkey to cancel the cards and trying to get them to wire us money from my account to Brazil. No go. They kept me on hold for what felt like a million years and provided no help other than canceling the cards. Nothing. Luckily, Baris’ brother lives in Natal, Brazil and agreed to send us money, but we would not be able to get it until the next day.

    Then, the first amazing thing happened. The receptionist gave us 200 reals from her pocket to continue with our day, we got to go to the rain forest, eat and everything else we had planned. Then, when we returned to the hostel, the second amazing thing happened. Two women buzzed the hostel gate saying they had found a wallet, our wallet. They said they found us because the hostel address was in there (although it was probably a big scam and they were likely the girlfriends of our “friends” from the beach). When we opened the wallet, the third amazing thing happened, All of our cards were there and though the thieves had stolen some cash (about 90 reals), they had left bus fare for two in the wallet. I kept thinking, this is the nicest theft experience I have ever had. I love Rio!

    • omg. unreal what happens when kind angels appear in your path. love it to death! love it that your theft experience turned out so unreal. hugs to you and please keep sharing your truths and adventures. looove it. may i share your story on facebook? i think others will adore to hear it. gabi

      • You can do anything you want with my stories, Gabi.

        • so much love to you.

  5. The positiveness of all of your words keeps me smiling and happy tonight:).

    Thanks and bless you all!

    • thank you dear jill. blessings right back at you dear one.

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