In 2.5 years of round-the-world travel to many countries where muggings are commonplace, I never once had anything stolen. I was never held at gunpoint. I was never robbed. The situations where things got a bit hairy were ones I chose to be a part of: climbing Putucusi with a busted rib, hopped up on diclofenac; taking a rickety boat through the Sumbawa straight with nary a life jacket in sight; sticking it out in Bangkok while the city tore itself asunder; perching myself precariously atop a minivan barreling across Indonesia with a goat in my lap. With the exception a fleece in Bolivia and a few errant socks, I never lost anything at all.
Until I came back to the States.
Yesterday evening, Craig’s apartment was robbed in Brooklyn. He lost his laptop and camera and expensive DSLR lenses and a slew of other belongings. I lost my new MacBook Pro (my birthday present to myself) and my Canon G9. I had a lot of personal information on the laptop – invoices with my bank number, blog posts, journal entries. They also took all the hard-earned money from my summer of stoop sales – $1500 in cash that I was going to deposit today. But worst of all, they took my 500GB backup hard drive, my netbook with another backup of my photos and my 32GB flash card with the 3rd backup of my photos. All of these were in different places in the apartment, and all are gone.
I’m angry. I’ve been watching my pennies this summer and was happy to have made some extra money downsizing my belongings. But the worst of it all is the loss of my memories – they took handwritten Moleskines full of notes from Burma and all of my photos. With the exception of a flash drive I found on the floor with my photos from Burma and Cambodia, I’ve lost everything. I have the blog and photo galleries, but all of the full resolution pictures are gone, as are all the photos I never uploaded to any gallery.
My lesson: back up your travel photos in the cloud
Here’s Where You Come In:
1) I’ve set up a Picasa album on my Legal Nomads account. I’m asking all of you who have met up with me on the road or crossed paths and have photos to contribute to please upload them to this album. Help me get my travel memories back. I’d love to see an album of places from around the world, crowdsourced from the amazing people I’ve met along the way.
2) I am going to the Apple store tomorrow to see about tracing the MacBook but if anyone sees a 13″ MacBook Pro in and around NY with the serial number W8027XK5ATM(and the remnants of a Canadian flag sticker on the front) please raise your hands.
3) Help spread the word by passing this post on to your friends. Don’t let them make the mistake I made by not backing up photos to the cloud. Even with 3 separate copies of my photos, I’m left empty-handed. Also, if anyone has suggestions for sites that allow you to backup your computer’s contents online, please leave them in the comments.
To those of you on Twitter or Facebook who have offered support and/or ass-kicking skills: thank you. Many of your comments brought a smile to my face in an otherwise difficult few days.
Update: Wow, 54 retweets in just a few hours. Thanks everyone. Just a small update. First, it goes without saying that I’m thankful for my health/not being in the apartment when the robbery happened, but I’ll say it anyhow: it could have been worse. Part of me wishes I was there to beat these people with my own tiny shoes, but I’ll concede it was better this way. Second, police were called immediately and they took photos and found fingerprints. However, unless the theives have been arrested prior, the fingerprints won’t trigger a match. Finally, I’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist and called pawn shops in the area to try and track down my stuff. No Moleskine notebooks in bushes/hedges around here either, I checked.
Thanks again for all the help, suggestions and retweets/posts to Facebook – I really appreciate it!