I promised myself that I would share all stories of traveling good and bad.
So, here’s a bad one.
Yesterday morning, my wallet was stolen on the tram. In that wallet was my drivers license, debit cards, credit card, SIM cards with money on them and $200 yearly metro pass. All gone.
Let me preface this situation…
In the grand scheme of things, getting your wallet stolen doesn’t seem like a big deal, right? You replace the cards and move on.
I’ve been living in Prague for a month and a half now. Not traveling, living. And the difference is huge compared to what a lot of people think I’m doing. So please take a second and imagine this for me. Really put yourself in this situation and imagine you’re living it.
You just moved to a city of over one million people that you’ve never been to, how do you feel?
You are in a completely new culture and you have never heard the language in your life, how do you feel?
You’re introduced to a new currency that makes zero sense from what you’re used to, how do you feel?
You’re seven hours ahead of everyone you love and barely find corresponding times to keep up your relationships, how do you feel?
You just moved to a big city where you don’t know a single person, and home is 4,500 miles away, how do you feel?
To do just one of these things takes a lot of courage and a lot of strength to overcome. Moving is hard, a different culture is hard and not knowing anybody at all is hard.
So to take on all of these challenges in one shot is for the ones who have the fiercest determination to gently go through each and every one of these obstacles. In other words, you pretty much have to be almost bat shit crazy.
Because it’s an incredible amount of change to handle.
So then you add 12 hours of TEFL training/homework a day, job hunting, apartment hunting and visa applications to the mix and… honest to God I’m not kidding you truly have to be a little crazy.
*SIDE NOTE* I’m not saying I didn’t choose this and I’m not saying I don’t love growing through every single one of these challenges. If I hated it, I would leave. I truly find so much worth in these experiences but you have to hear how freaking hard it is from an honest stand point.
So this whole journey, while incredible, has been viciously hard mentally, physically and definitely emotionally.
So here’s the story:
Yesterday morning, I pushed myself into a tram that was crowded with people and I was touching about four other passengers. The tram was rocking back and forth around corners, people were shoving their way by me and I was clinging to the railing as usual. However, I’m really good at keeping my purse in front of me (or so I thought). When half the passengers got off at one stop, I noticed my purse unzipped.
My heart sank. All I could think about was the lifeline that wallet held. Especially to a girl who lives off of $900 a month and won’t be paid for two months. Those cards are my lifeline and that metro pass is not replaceable meaning another $200 will have to come out of my empty pockets to replace it. I felt tears well up in my eyes but I told myself that I needed to get home to make sure I didn’t’ leave it there (I never have so I knew the chances were slim). Still in my purse was my passport that I needed for an appointment at the US Embassy. I am so incredibly thankful it wasn’t taken with my wallet because without it I wouldn’t have been able to enter the building and had previously scheduled this appointment weeks ago.
Thank God for that small victory.
I pushed through my appointment with tears that kept creeping it’s way into my eyes. I got outside and had to call an Uber home because I couldn’t get on the public transportation due to the zero money and stolen pass. I texted my friend in Prague and told her what had happened and her text back made me start crying in the Uber. I wiped my eyes and bit back more tears by staring fiercely at the GPS until I thanked the driver and walked up to the entrance.
I ran up the stairs and immediately broke down. I called my mom at 3:30 am her time and started bawling when she answered. She, of course, was sleeping and answered groggily with “hello…” until she heard my sharp breaths and repeated “Anna, what’s wrong, what happened, are you okay?”
It took me a couple of seconds before I could even speak to tell her what happened. I told her that this was too much, that I was overwhelmed, that everything was just looking up from the stress I already mentioned. I told her about 14 times, “Mom, I want to come home.. I just want to come home”. And I did want that, more than anything. I have never wanted to give up more than I have in that moment.
As time ticked by, I had to hang up the phone and go to several appointments around the city. I called my bank to report the stolen cards and right after I gave my account numbers and described what happened, the phone cut off. I pulled the phone from my ear to read You don’t have enough credit to complete the call. I don’t have wifi at my apartment, I didn’t have a card to pay for more minutes and I still had so much to do.
I went to my next appointment and the lady asked me if I could pay for our time in cash. I said that I didn’t have any and she directed me to an ATM. Becoming overwhelmed, I started crying in the chair across from her as I explained my wallet was stolen and all accounts were frozen. I was so embarrassed. She sympathized and I left to later get a text that I forgot my passport and had to return three hours later to retrieve it. Honestly, I was completely overwhelmed all day.
I can’t say yesterday was a hard day because I’ve had plenty here. I already told you what makes this experience hard. So to have this happen on top of everything I have already been trying to gently go through put me at a breaking point. Yesterday was a downright challenge to keep going. Do you know how many people I Skyped that told me to just come home?
My positive side wants to say that in the end, the day was not that bad. But truly, it was. It was awful. I can blame the incident on myself not being careful or bad timing or karma or sheer dumb luck but the truth is sometimes sh*t just happens. I am safe, money is money and at least I was smart enough to hide spare cards/cash in my apartment just in case.
Here’s what I want you to know.
Chasing your dreams is not easy. I don’t see a new city every day. My Instagram and blog posts highlight a ton of what happens here but doesn’t always talk about the challenges. The truth is there is difficulty in anything you do and sometimes bad things happen like delayed flights or lost luggage or this. But I can’t change it, as much as I want to.
How often do we hear about this part of travel or living abroad? This is exactly why not everyone does it. It’s really freaking hard. I can’t tell you how many times I hear “but you’re traveling, enjoy it”. No. I’m living out here. And I enjoy it immensely, but it’s hard.
You truly can’t understand how hard it is unless you do it.
And as much as I told my mom I wanted to come home, I can’t yet. I can’t let this setback ruin what might lay ahead, no matter how exhausted I become. So here I am, with locked accounts and a credit card that I’m protecting with my life.
Yesterday, I Skyped people who despite wanting me home told me to keep going. I have texted friends who said they know I can make it past this setback. I talked to my mom before dawn and after sunset to tell me that she is so proud of me. So last night I made some tea, pulled out a book, stared at pictures of my niece and read a letter a friend wrote purposefully for this kind of day (complete with tissues).
When you keep fighting battle after battle to chase something you truly want, you start to realize how much it takes out of you. You become so tired and have to be so so gentle with yourself. I am in love with this journey of moving abroad but not every day is going to be filled with instagrammable views or incredible stories of free gandala rides through Italian canals.
So, here I am.
I have zero dollars and a dream that is really freaking hard to chase sometimes. I still have no wifi and had 10% emotional capacity to start teaching today. But I made it and I’m moving forward because it is how I live now. It is the only way to live every single day here. One day at a time, one minute following the next.
But if you could send a little extra love my way right now, I’d be eternally grateful.
The one thing I always want to be authentic is this blog and the good and bad that comes with chasing a dream, self growth and travel. Because no matter how I feel right now, I am going to grow from this. In the end, this makes me stronger.
What matters is I didn’t give up no matter how badly I wanted to.
So yesterday was one hell of a Monday. And you will have these days but don’t you dare give up. Not yet.
As always, thanks for following this journey and thank you especially for reading this whole post.
With so much love,
PSSST… HEY you! I have an e-book in the works for those who travel with anxiety! If you want more like this, you can sign up here to receive free chapters, goodies, love letters and FIRST dibs on the e-book! 🙂
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