Sunday, January 20, 2013


We had become complacent.  When we first arrived in Latin America, we were constantly on the alert for anyone trying to take things from us.  We read about taxi cabs, kidnappings, con artists and corrupt officials.  We minimized risk by keeping credit cards well hidden, only a little cash in our wallets, and our passports on us at all times.  We never put a bag on the rack above us on a bus, and kept tight hold of our cameras and devices, rarely taking them out unless we felt safe.  But with time, and the almost constant kindness of strangers, we became complacent.  As we began this journey described in our first blog posting, our goals were to seek to learn with humility, grow together, and, where possible, give with grace.

No one likes to be robbed.  We were hustled by a team at a crowded bus station in Puerto Montt.  They surrounded us, pushing, smiling reassuringly, offering to help us hand our packs to the bus loader.  The bus employee stopped loading baggage with cold suspicion telling us to check our possessions and pockets as two of the men moved rapidly toward an exit and a third women faded away into the crowd.  They took with them not only Sally's wallet but some of our innocence and much of our joy that day.

Yet, as we boarded the bus with less cash and no credit cards, we processed what it meant to learn with humility.  We knew some of the lessons would be harder than others, and we pray that none come from physical harm.  We were well "schooled" yesterday, and we reviewed what happened as well as what can be done in the future.  Neither of us wants to look at strangers with fear or suspicion as we move through a world rich with the variety of humanity found everywhere.  Most have helped us and these three individuals mainly harmed our pride and increased our challenge of using the resources we need to continue the time remaining in our South America adventure. 

We learned a lot yesterday and, as we work with banks and credit card companies, we learned more today.  As anyone knows who has had credit and ATM cards stolen, the degree to which they are used in ways that are not transparent becomes painfully clear as many daily transactions, activities, and actions are blocked or refused.  In talking to others in our hostel, we have also been shocked by the frequency in which they, too, have been victimized.  Because of this, they have been sources of good advice as we seek police reports and ways to put our financial life back together.

We had become complacent.  We are wiser for the experience yesterday and thoughtful about what it really means to learn with humility and to give with grace. 

Posted in Valdivia, Chile

Images of us on a bus before we were robbed, Jess at an ATM in Valdivia, and Sally with her friend Pirate proving that not all encounters go badly! 


  1. I hate learning lessons of caution with humanity. I'd much rather be delighted by optimism. I'm sorry for the painful lesson and financial loss.

    1. We really did find it to be a good lesson overall. It also helped us be grateful for several things. Life!

  2. Stuart and I feel your pain, and admire your perspective. I'm taking notes, my friends! I'm sorry you had the experience. We are still changing passwords weekly, and checking our statements daily, in anticipation of delayed reaction after our recent loss. On a lighter note: our LAUNDRY was stolen last week! We're in Oaxaca. Yep, the socks, jeans, ropa interior, and my favorite dress. The man running the laundry stole the entire bag. After I had several calm but intense conversation in spanish (hurray!) with the wife, the clothes mysteriously reappeared 5 days later. Lesson for me: don't be so danged attached to clothes. OK, the thor-lo socks Stuart almost lost were worth fretting over!

    The List was priceless! Hoarding tp is a habit you don't easily get over!
    abrazos to my humility teachers, k

  3. Karen,
    You know you have great clothing taste when the laundry man takes your dress and Sally has your socks.... ;)

  4. hehehe! Laundry Man would look so, um, darlin' in that yellow linen dress! I'd give Sally ALL my socks, if she wanted them. Julie's words are so good, I wrote them in my journal, along side so many words you two have written. Thanks, Julie! We're missing y'all...

  5. I am so sorry you had to learn this lesson; I've been robbed several times in L.A., and the hustling you describe is very much like how I was robbed in the Mexico City subway. Your attitude is admirable, but it's OK to just be mad about it, too! Hope the repercussions are few and short-lived.