Yes, you read that right. I was robbed.
It was the last few months of warmness in New Zealand before the winter would come, and I decided to explore a bit. After many break downs in my van (gearbox, engine, alternator etc.) Torin was fixed and ready to be driven. I got everything organised, and I was on the road.
– A little side story –
If you were following me before, you would have known that I didn’t have my van for 2 months because the engine blew up. I was having a really hard time dealing with everything constantly going wrong. So when I began this blog post, I was FINALLY with my van again with a new engine and was hoping all the problems were behind me. When I drove out of Queenstown, knowing my van was alive, I couldn’t believe it. I was so extremely happy, but I had just been on a huge struggle streak for 2 months that it didn’t feel quite real yet.
I wanted to explore the scenic way to Christchurch since I’ve never been there before. I did a nice day and a half of driving and taking epic photos through St. Bathans, and the east coast. Little did I know that the worst thing was about to happen later that night. I drove into Christchurch, found a park, paid the meter and went out with some friends. When I came back to my van, early the next morning, I started it as I usually would and waited for it to get warm. For some reason I decided to look back, probably because I was reversing. I noticed my cupboards were wide open and my bed sheets were pushed in odd places. It was definitely not how I left it. I jumped in the back to see what the hell was going on, and my heart sunk – the deepest it’s sunk in a long time. (Considering everything I’ve gone through this year, it was pretty dang deep)
My camera bag was GONE. To name many things that were gone, here are a few: camera, MacBook, polaroid camera, 4 lenses, rain jacket, kobo, go pro, all camera equipment, receipts, personal files and oddly, personal sexual items were gone as well. This has to be the worst thing that has ever happened. Everything amounted to over $10, 000. My heart was absolutely broken. I had worked SO hard to accumulate all of these items as they were my passion. I was lost.
I couldn’t stop shaking. I didn’t know what to do. I was in complete shock and it was the worst feeling in the world. What happened from this point, to the next day was a lot of calling my dad, and my insurance company, as well as making a police report. I quickly decided that my adventure was going to come to an end, because traveling around and seeing places is great – but when photography is your passion and you’ve lost all your gear, what’s the point? I know that’s a bit silly, but I just couldn’t do it. I drove back to Queenstown. My adventure was officially 2 days long.
As you will totally understand now, this is why I’ve been completely missing off social media, blogging and taking photos. After many long days of contacting my insurance company and sorting everything out. I have been paid out and have ordered my new camera. I’m so thankful for the insurance company, I’m not sure how long I would have been upset for… probably until I could have saved up $10, 000 to buy my items again. I am so grateful.
What GETTING ROBBED has taught me
1 – The camera can be replaced, but the photos and memories cannot. My entire life of photography is gone. I have a completely empty slate.
2 – If you’re going to buy a van, make it look like a work truck. Be 100% in disguise at all time. I now know that a camper van is too obvious, and horrible people know that your entire life is in that van.
3 – Avoid cities. I’ve been pretty much everywhere in New Zealand and nothing like this has ever happened. Big cities are not my vibe anyways, but they definitely aren’t a camper van vibe.
4 – If you’re going to visit cities, do it during the day.
5 – Always get insurance on your contents and vehicle. Full Comprehensive Car insurance, never third party. Make sure you’re always completely covered.
6 – Save EVERYTHING to the cloud.
7 – If you buy an expensive item, take a photo of the receipt and save it to the cloud. (For insurance purposes)
8 – Store your external hard drive somewhere safe and hidden, NOT with your laptop.
9 – Always think as if you’re going to be stolen from. Yeah, horrible but it’ll probably save you in the long run.
10 – Always be grateful.
All of these photos were taken during the day before I was robbed. I was so happy. Finally on another adventure. It may look silly to have such happy photos with a horrible post, but the reality is, I was so happy to finally be back exploring. Thank you to my lovely friend Tomas Kalous for sending me these photos, as I clearly wouldn’t have them otherwise!
If there’s any one thing I’ve learned it would be to always stay positive, because shitty times never last. But most importantly, get Insurance for your items, and save EVERYTHING to the cloud!