"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I`ve traveled to.
...But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won`t fall down."
-Mitch Hedberg

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mean People Suck

Well, I hate to interrupt this chain of happy-go-lucky, “New Zealand is the best place ever!” posts, but it’s time for a harsh dose of reality. Yesterday Shawn and I were robbed.

At 10 am we parked Flash in a spot that seemed like a great find because A) it was free, and B) it was walking distance from free wifi at the library. But in hindsight it was a sketchy lot hidden behind bushes where nobody would see the glass of our side window shattering. Why can’t foresight be the one that’s 20/20?

By the time we came back to the van at 1:30 pm, some jerk had invaded our cozy home and run off with my wallet, my American phone, and two of Shawn’s small bags. The wallet makes sense – it was a really cute Coach wristlet I received as a gift in my mortgage brokering days, and inside was: $150 NZ and $200 US, my NY driver’s license, 2 debit cards, 5 credit cards, 2 Starbucks cards, a sweet money clip, oh and only the keys to the ignition and Club on the steering wheel! We were lucky the van was even still there.

Shawn’s bags held more eclectic treasures. Had the stupid-dummy-head robber looked inside the bags before stealing them, he would have seen: a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, razor, shaving cream, deodorant, wool gloves, $2 ladies sunglasses (you know, the gold ones Shawn always wears in the photos…), magic markers, pushpins, surf wax, a California Raisins figurine, and worst of all, Brendan.

That plastic dinosaur really tied the room together.
Despite small frustrations (have you ever tried to cancel 7 cards from overseas?!), we’re feeling incredibly grateful. Yeah it sucks to lose money, and it kills me knowing that the things that meant heaps to us, but had no monetary value, are lying in a ditch somewhere. But we're counting our blessings because we still have 2 laptops, 2 ipod touches, our camera, NZ cell phone, passports, and Shawn’s money (hehe).

Other than the one scumbag, the Kiwis have been nothing but awesome. Terry, the police constable, drove us to a used car parts lot where we found a perfect match for our 1987 Townace window. He even haggled with the owner to get us a good deal – “Come on mate, they had their money taken too,” he said and winked at us. Julie, another officer, drove out to us the next morning and fingerprinted the van while we ate breakfast. A young rafting guide we met in a coffee shop today heard the story and bought Shawn a flat white.

To top it off, some complete stranger was a rockstar when he saw the broken glass. He crossed the parking lot, walked straight up to us, and put a $10 bill in my hand. He said, “I saw what happened to you and it’s just awful. Take this and buy yourselves a drink or something.” Then he ran off towards his car and added over his shoulder, “We’re not all bad!” I didn’t even have time to thank him. Woolworth’s parking lot dude – you’re my new hero.

Deep breath. Ah…

The window is fixed, the damage erased, and we’re shaking ourselves off, chalking one up to bad circumstances and rotten luck. Care and I are moving on – a little bit wiser, a lot warier, but by no means jaded. Traveling is all about exposing yourself to the elements, and it’s ridiculous to think that we’d only encounter sunshiney days and lollipop forests.

I came across a quote on my sister Cherise’s facebook page, and it’s eerie how appropriate it is to our current situation:

“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day-to-day living that wears you out.” - Anton Chekhov.

We’re bummed about what happened, but a robbery is small peanuts to the everyday stumbling blocks of monotony and apathy that sometimes crept into our lives in the States. While we may be low on cash at the moment, it could be a lot worse.

I could be in a cubicle right now.

by Shawn Forno
New Zealand is best seen from the open road. The spread out nature of the country, limited public transit options, and affordability of self contained camping make exploring from a personal vehicle the best choice for any tourist regardless of length of stay...read more


  1. Terrible situation. My apartment was burglarized about 9 months back but, like your robber, they took the easy stuff and not the good stuff. It sucks, but glad you have the right attitude.

    And Shawn, I *am* reading this from a cubicle...in London, ahthankyouverymuch. They're not all bad ;-)

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about this guys (Carolyn I know you don't know me..oh well!). Ric and I got broken into on our road trip, too. Something about a car with a lot of crap in it just attracts those crackheads, you know? And of course, they took that have no value to them but tons of value to me (Like these amazing books we found in Portland). Anyway, I feel for you guys and it looks like you have a great attitude about it. And sadly, this is the way you learn things. Wishing you better luck and more adventures on the road! -Anchal

  3. Thanks Anch. It sucks that you guys got jacked too - I remember something happened to one of your bikes your first day in New York.

    We've learned a little, but the thing that sucks is that our van was as secure as we could make it, and I refuse to make the thing that I "learn" not trusting people. Its a bad precedent.


    A cubicle in London sounds pretty nice actually.

    What are you doing over there?

  4. Don't spit on my cubicle life... :(

  5. Rumor has it there is a Brendanette waiting for you, she is like Brendan but purple and a girl. I think it should be your mission to find her, because after all she would like a place in you lives, your heart and Flash...

  6. World Wide SlutinasApril 28, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    BOOOO that sucks sooo much! good thing they didnt steal the real important stuff like passports and computers but canceling credit cards abroad would seem like a fuckin mess! Hope you guys are enjoying the south island even after the drama! We miss you guys and cant wait to reunite....maybe new years in Fiji again!!!???!!???

    Matty and Brianna

    RIP Brendan.....
    maybe a kiwi statue is in order now....

  7. Yeah...we dodged a bullet by not getting anything really really important jacked. It's funny, I was really angry about my passport being held up in the Citizenship processing office for weeks, but it turned out it was the best thing ever, because the bag where I kept it got jacked.

    What can I say? We got lucky...not that lucky cuz we still got robbed, but eh. Still good.

    What about you two? Any sketchy tales from the road? I KNOW there have to be a few.

  8. Dude where to start!? Everywhere we've been has some sketched out area but some awesome ones as well. In Laos where i sliced my foot open there was this raggae bar that had a "happy menu" at night which included 1. joints 2. mushroom milkshakes and 3. coke or aka YAYO hahah but the weird thing is that in Laos the cops make their livings off of fuckin tourist over by arresting them for drugs so we didnt know whether the menu was like a secret way to get arrested but luckily we didnt nothing happened except we were stoned the entire time in Laos! Bangkok was wild when we got there the protest was hitting hard and bombs were going off around the city so we are glad to be in tokyo right now but its fuckin expensive! Last night we got trashed by finishing a bottle of vodka to ourselves then going to a all you can drink beer/karaoke place where we dont remember anything and somehow getting kicked out by the locals which i think was due in part to me screaming rihanna in my loud gay voice haha! Loving the updates keep em coming!