How to Get Robbed – 101
Figuring out how to get robbed is potentially one of the most important lessons that any traveler can learn. After all, even the most seasoned of us have, at one point or another, grown attached to material possessions that do little but weigh down our bags.
Sure, your camera may provide nice pictures and videos… but get robbed… and stop living behind a lens.
Sure, your passport may be useful to get you out of a country… but get robbed… and learn to live in this new culture instead of just passing through it.
Sure, your money may buy you some things… but get robbed… and learn how to relate to all those people that you’ve never taken time to acknowledge asking for change on the side of the street.
Sure, you like your backpack… but get robbed… and you’ll never have to struggle to shove it in the overhead compartment, or worry about carry-in charges again.
Sure, your clothes seem important… but get robbed… and realize just how beautiful the naked body can be.
Obviously there’s many great reasons to get robbed, and don’t forget what a great story it makes for all your friends who thought you were crazy for going traveling in the first place. So let’s look at the crucial steps in order to make sure you can become the unwilling victim of a traveler horror story that is clearly no fault of your own.
Step 1 – Be Conspicuous
One of the most important rules of getting robbed is to make sure that you stick out. You may think that by merely being in a country where no one shares your skin colour or language is enough, but it’s not. If you really want to get robbed, make damn sure that people notice you. Dress in designer labels. Stay clean shaven. Keep your makeup on. Just because you’re travelling doesn’t mean that you won’t be suddenly discovered as the new upcoming model or Hollywood star!
Step 2 – Be Loud
Okay, this falls into being conspicuous, but it takes a whole new angle. You want to make sure to include any potential thieves that may be blind. So be sure to speak loudly and ignorantly. Using the words ‘No one here speaks English’ is a good start, but make sure to throw in a couple of racial slurs about the country where you’re visiting… now you’re developing the proper swagger!
Step 3 – Get Lost
Many travelers get lost… but don’t forget that you want to be conspicuous about it. Make sure that everyone around you knows damn well that you’re lost! Now you would think that asking for directions is the best way to do this, but it’s actually not… for you might be charming and make friends when you ask for directions and thus have someone looking out for you. What you want to do, is take out a map and unfold it completely. Those people that barely unfold a map only get noticed by 80% of the folk out there… if possible, walk down the street whilst holding the fully unfolded map in front of you and don’t look where you’re going. Bumping into people without apologizing and loudly disapproving of ‘this stupid city and it’s people’ will definitely help you on your way.
Step 4 – Keep Your Valuables Handy
There’s nothing quite like having a huge SLR camera around your neck or large video camera (okay, that’s a little dated) to make thieves pay attention to you as you walk down the street with your head in a map, yelling racial slurs and bumping into passersby. If you don’t have an SLR handy, then maybe take a large IPad out in order to look for directions on that thing as well. Be sure to take pictures with your IPad. If you happen to have any small valuables, like a digital camera or IPhone, then take them out for pictures but make sure to leave them in your loose pockets so that they can be easily accessed in case a Monkey goes by riding a Camel whilst chasing an Elephant in a Gorilla parade… missing that moment would suuuhuuuuck!
Step 5 – Take a Load Off
You don’t need to always keep your valuables close. You might be uncomfortable if you have your bag on your lap on the overnight bus, so put it in the storage compartment above your head. If there’s no room there, you might be forced to put it at your feet, be sure to not wrap your foot through the armband or lock the bag. Putting a lock on your bag only shows thieves that it’s worth taking, and wrapping your foot through the armband merely proves that you are going to fall asleep. Just shove it far underneath the seat, and drift away to neverland where Peter Pan can sprinkle you with a little pixie dust.
Step 6 – Dark Alleys are Your Friend
There’s many great places to get lost when you’re on the road. Try to find the one where you would hang out if you were not wanting to be spotted by the authorities. If there’s enough room to be walking down the dark alleys with your map than do that, but once it gets a little too dark to read the map, take out your Ipad and hold it up in front of your face to get properly oriented. Be sure to have your SLR around your neck at all times in case that Monkey/Camel/Elephant/Gorilla combo comes trotting past.
Step 7 – Get Wasted
What’s a true cultural experience if you’re not getting a little hammered on the local moonshine, or stoned on the hashish or hanging out in the Opium den. Be sure to bring your camera and passport with you, as they aren’t safe in the hotel.
Step 8 – Drink/Take Whatever/Wherever
You’re on the road to experience everything possible, no? So, why are you not accepting that sketchy drink from the shady guy in the corner? If no one is offering you drinks, then leave your drink in plain sight so someone might have the opportunity to spice it up a little bit…. they don’t call it spiced rum for nothing!
Step 9 – Carry Your Bags
Obviously, most travelers will be forced to carry their bags at some point or another… so you need to go beyond this. Try to make sure to carry your large bags frequently. If you can somehow manage to have all of your bags with you whilst successfully accomplishing the afore mentioned 8 steps, then odds are pretty good that you’re about to have a fantastic story to tell regarding these jackass locals that have no desire whatsoever to work for a living, and are happy just to steal and pickpocket the innocent tourists… If you’re friends happen to tell you that those scoundrels might’ve needed such possessions more than you, or even that it would take them 1 year to earn the amount that they received from selling a few of your possessions, stick to the personal property argument and stealing is bad carte blanche… you can’t lose that argument!
Make damn sure that the locals never feel that they are your equal. If you start to relate too well to them, either by trying to learn their language to show that you respect their culture, or genuinely taking an interest in their lives by asking about their country and traditions, all may be lost. Don’t befriend your neighbour on the bus! Don’t learn to say thank you in the local language (and certainly not ‘how are you’) and don’t let them ever feel that you are anything less than a culture vulture.
Recently, some monkey provided me the opportunity to learn a great lesson in detachment by stealing my camera… and thus helped me reflect on all these great tips to share with you regarding how you too can get a great lesson in detachment by learning how to get robbed.