Contemplations

Emotional Breakdowns When Having Your Bag STOLEN in South America

June 16, 2013

This is a blog post I have been both dreading and eagerly excited to write. It’s about when I got my camera bag stolen while I was in Banos, Ecuador. Now originally I wanted to write this post right after it happened, since as soon as I posted the news on my social networks there were a million and one questions and I was getting tired of repeating myself. I am however very glad I waited to write this post because I now feel like I am in a more secure and stable emotional state and I can reflect and report in a mature, put together manor.

I have grown emotionally and learned more about myself in these past few months since the “incident” than in the past two years. In the two weeks following the incident I had gone from emotional rock bottom to once again newly optimistic on life. I have only ever had a few other incidents in my life that have plummeted me to such an emotional wreck, and certainly none so quickly.

So let’s start the story from the beginning.

First A Bit About Me:

The Pelourinho - Salvador, Brazil

Look at that death grip.

I am a beyond paranoid over protective freak when it comes to my belongings. I travel A LOT and even in everyday “home” life I always know where all my valuables and even none valuables are. I do not lose things (aside from socks and a few random smaller objects); I do not break things (I get very upset when I wash clothing the wrong way); I have never had ANYTHING stolen from me before in my life.  There are multiples ways that I have had this success; one is always being aware of my valuables and electronics, and being proactive and not placing myself into situations where trouble happens. I have travelled to over 30+countries with laptops, external hard drives, cellphones, DSLR cameras, spare cameras and more. I always have an eye out for my bag and where it is. If we are riding public transit, it’s locked or it’s in front of me secured. My bag is always either on me or being watched by someone.

Korcula, Croatia

Never keep bags under the seat, pick-pockets come from every angle.

I do this because there are only a few objects in my life that have a lot of sentiment: my laptop, external hard drive (where my video footage is kept), DSLR camera and a few of my favorite pieces of jewelery. I would honestly like to consider myself a very non materialistic person, I try hard to be and I know in some sense I am.  I own less clothing than almost all my guys friends and I have literally no furniture aside from a desk and bed. Everything I own can be packed up in 3-4 suitcases. Literally everything.  I just don’t like spending money on objects, I would rather spend it on experiences, trips or nights out with friends. So when I do spend money on items, I make a big investment emotionally and financially to purchase and acquire them.

The Incident:

I feel like this is one of those time when everything complies onto each other and bad luck just happens. We were back at the hotel dressing/getting equipment and stuff ready for the night. Now I have a pretty golden rule when it come to taking my DSLR camera out at night: I don’t. Nighttime is statistically when the largest amount of small crime happens, it’s just a fact. I even knew that South America is particularly bad for crime when Stephanie and I were travelling in Brazil and heard all the stories of fellow travellers getting mugged and pick pocketed at night. I also NEVER take my DSLR bag/camera when I go drinking or where there is drinking involved. But alas, for some reason that night I decided that it was okay to take my bag out, we were only going to dinner in a group and then going to a private salsa dancing lesson and then I would head home. Yes, it was a Saturday night, but if I wanted to go out afterwards I would return my big camera back to the hostel and just grab some cash for the rest of the evening.

First breakdown of my system: I got too comfortable. Dinner was great and then it was off to salsa dancing where only our group, plus the staff from Leprechaun Bar , where we were taking lessons at, were dancing; however, there was still people walking in and out of the bar and the bar doors were open. I was filming like I usually do, and my sister was filming as well. The camera was getting place in and out of the bag, which was on the bench near the other bags. It was just after 9:00pm on a Saturday night and in the span of literally 5-10minutes when I was carelessly, soberly salsa dancing away not paying my usual hawk-eye attention to my bag it was snatched. I was too comfortable in my settings and just like that it was gone.

Second breakdown of my system: I failed my redundancy checks. I had two lenses in my bag, for filming different style. (this is normal) But last minute I also placed my secondary camera in and my iPhone 5 (did I REALLY need those for dinner and salsa?). Then, last last minute my sister also placed her phone in the bag. Generally when we travelled together we would split our valuables between our 4 different bags, so if one got stolen or lost we wouldn’t have lost everything. There should never have been two phones and two cameras in that bag.

They know who stole it, a Colombian lady, she wrapped it in a bag and walked out. A few members of my group told me they saw her leave but didn’t think anything of it at the time. They were also caught on camera, her and two male accomplices. I was the only target in our group but not the only one that night, 4 other bags were taken from various bars and a bus station that night all between 9-10:15pm.

Local buses. -  [Photo Credit]

Local buses. – [Photo Credit]

When I first noticed it gone I went into frenzy, my adrenaline kicked in and I mad dashed around the bar, turning over chairs, bags, everything. Then lead by one of the employees at the bar we ran out onto the street, searching alleys, scanning each and every person. First we hit up the public open buses, basically 4×4 trucks with horizontal benches placed in the trunk, similar to the trains you ride in Disneyland to get from the parkade to the park. They were crowded with people and I jumped up and onto them searching for my bag. I knew what my camera bag looked like but I didn’t know at the time that it was in a plastic bag. After the public buses we searched the coaches at the main bus terminal and zigzagged up and down every alley and street in literally the whole town. The other employees and fellow Contiki travellers joined in the search as well to hit up all the other local bars on the strip.

bar street banos

Leprechuan Bar and street during the day. – [Photo Credit]

Looking back at this period of time now,  I can honesty say I’ve never had such an adrenaline rush. I literally sprinted back and forth through each and every street in Banos in the matter of minutes; frantic, manic, searching since my bag couldn’t possibly be actually gone, until it was. Until reality set in and I realized I was in South America and things are very different here. There are black markets and inefficient policing systems, crime is a very common occurrence. 

My camera bag was gone and I was never going to see it again.

Grief and despair then flooded over me like a tidal wave. Literally like in the movies when a person so overcome with emotion collapses onto the ground. That was me, crying, muttering nonsense of how royally fucked I am. I had to literally be pick up off the ground by fellow travellers and the staff from the bar and told to keep looking. Told we had to go back to the bar. Then came the numbness, where I just went emotionally blank. I shut off crying and everything while sitting in the police car continuing to search. Going over how my life was over, everything that defined me was over. I was a video blogger with no camera equipment. Where as just two days previous I was crying and upset over lost footage when my GoPro’s battery died and my sisters camera got waterlogged at the same time. ( I get very upset over missing footage). I kept telling myself, please let this not be real, let it be a dream. (That never works, I don’t even know why we do that) But it was. That camera WAS a part of me, and it felt like someone had ripped it out so quickly and brutally I was left with a physical hole that I wasn’t ready for and could not deal with.

Travel Video Blogger

Ode to the departed.

Now I’m sure this sounds somewhat familiar to what a death of a close loved one feels like. I am very lucky and blessed to have never had this reaction to death before, although I have experienced it in my life. I am honesty ashamed to be comparing loosing a camera, a replaceable item, to the death of a loved one.  But at those moments that is exactly how I felt. This is why I wanted to wait to write this, because I had to come to grips with a part of my personality that was attached to those items. I had to break that emotional attachment, that camera was metaphorically my “child”. It was with me almost every day of my life for the last year and a half. It was my travel companion and my story telling tool. I tucked it into bed at night and charged, cleaned and took very good care of it. I even had it send into repairs cause I wore out the grip. It was away for a week and I was very scared I wouldn’t see it again. But I did. Friends that travelled with me knew that I brought that camera everywhere. I never expected to get so emotionally attached, or was even aware that a person COULD get so emotionally attached to an item until now. But now two months later, after a bit of time and support from my friends, I am okay without it. It is just a camera, it will be replaced.

The Aftermath:

Things that were stolen:

  • Camera bag
  •  iPhone 5
  • Samsung Galaxy II
  • Canon 60D DSLR camera
  • Canon 50mm lens
  • Tamron 10-24mm lens
  • Canon Powershot Elph 110HS camera
  • 2 extra 16GB cards, chargers, USB drives, lens cleaners, batteries
  • $150 USD cash and my sister’s debit card, luckily our only card stolen.
DSLR Purse

Bye bye camera bag.

All the local pawn shops and electronic stores were called, no luck. I tried find my iphone on my computer, little luck that was. The following Monday I painstakingly got a police report filled out, I won’t go into the details of how ridiculous that was and why the police station wasn’t open on the weekend. I had no insurance and neither did my sister, nothing would be covered. I never even knew you could get baggage/theft insurance.

I think also one of the biggest causes of  WHY I was so emotionally devastated was that I didn’t know how I was going to replace those items. I am financial screwed. I cannot afford a new camera, or a even a new phone. (since writing this I have actually saved up enough for a older phone, yay) I am lucky I can pay my rent each month. This was and still is one of the leading reasons I am so devastated by this whole ordeal.  I know most of you can understand this on some level. I am not a wealthy person, the life and path I have chosen for myself is not one that general ends in riches.

Being a “travel blogger” is not all that glorious. I am broke and have no money most of the time. My cards are maxed out and I have a lot of debt from student loans. I work 4-5 different types of odd jobs to make cash in between my travels when I am at home. So although it seems like I travel most of the time, in reality I don’t. I just space out my videos so it seems that way since my life at home is boring; I work to pay bills. One of the blessings I do have is through my sponsorships, like my largest one with Contiki. Working with them and other companies is how I AM able to take these trips. However, without equipment I am little use as a travel vlogger for the future.

On A Positive Note:

Thanks to the fact that I back up my footage on an external hard drive all my fantastic and incredible Galapagos footage survived and is currently in the process of being edited. I have also rediscovered why I love travelling in a group so much once again.  I am eternally grateful to the warm supporting hearts of my fellow travel mates whom lent me their photos, footage and cameras for the final few days on tour. They were so supportive I cannot thank them enough. Least not forget my above and beyond tour leader Maiyra, and the whole Contiki team. If I didn’t have them I would be MUCH more screwed.

And then there is my personal growth and self discovery. Learning that life indeed goes on and that loosing stuff is NOT the end of the world. I have moved on, and in some weird twisted way almost slightly, not heavily, thankful I got this experience, since it has helped me grow as a person and will help future me be WAY more cautious of my belongings. You learn through experience right? Well this is one experience I am sure NOT going to forget.

sigNadineSykora

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39 Comments

  • Reply sh!t happens June 16, 2013 at 3:33 am

    So this is a reason why you were not vloging for last two months. I was curious what happened to you.

    • Reply nadine June 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

      This would be part of the reason, there are a few others as well.

      • Reply Scott Macdonald June 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

        You are very selfish. Why should we pay for your new equipment? I can barely pay my own rent.

        I’ve been mugged, shot at, travelled in many countries that were at war and also had my bag stolen with my valuable Nikons inside.

        I asked nobody to help me financially.

        You are such a child.

        • Reply Shannon June 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

          Nadine isn’t forcing anybody to give her money to pay for new equipment. She said she wasn’t expecting anything in return. Nobody has to give her money and if they do it’s because they are fans of her videos and want to see more of them.

          • nadine June 19, 2013 at 11:47 am

            Thank you Shannon, I could not have said it better myself. <3

        • Reply anthony June 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

          I have to agree with Scott McDonald

          Nadine, you really are a F’ing child. You are almost 26 years old and you are asking for a hand-out…. You may not be “forcing” people into giving you money, but you are sure as hell BEGGING for it!! Acting all sad and heartbroken, only the sheep will fall into your trap. It was your own damn fault you lost your camera, take responsibility as an adult. I am 24 and more mature than you.

          Next thing you know, you will be asking for a brand new car if you get in a car accident or someone steals your car….

          As for the sheep who dont agree with me, well, your Shepard (Nadine) is calling you my friends, obey her….

          • Alex June 21, 2013 at 3:39 pm

            You know, just because you dont agree with what Nadine is doing, doesnt mean you have to be so rude and a complete asshole about it. This has nothing to do with maturity or a lack of responsibility. First of all Nadine works very hard and spends a huge amount of time to make these videos for everyone to enjoy, and she has many viewers who really enjoy her videos and are inspired and entertained by them. And do you know what it costs us? Nothing. We get to share in all these experiences for nothing more than just pulling them up on youtube. And do you know what Nadine gets out of it, financially? Not a whole lot. On top of what she gets from youtube, she works many other odd jobs and still can barely get by. Now she could have decided to not ask for any help, which is what she has done the last few months since it happened, but it would take her quite a long time before she would be able to make more videos. Since then people have been asking what they can do to help and trying to get her to give them a way to help. People recognize that she does something for them and that while she does get something out of it from youtube, shes not getting rich off of it and they want a way to help out in return. She isnt begging anyone or forcing anyone to do anything they do not want, or tricking anyone into giving her anything. She is merely giving people the opportunity to help if they so choose. And while there may be people who take this opportunity the wrong way by giving her an obscene amount of money because they have some misconception about their relationship with Nadine, that is not her fault and im sure was not her intention to take advantage of anyone. Everyone that gave her money was an adult and made the decision on there own to help or not. Just because no one helped you or Scott or whoever else when you had a hard time financially doesnt mean you are a better person. She’s not asking for anyone to pay her rent or buy anything, just giving people the opportunity to give back for all the years of hard work she has dedicated to share her experiences with everyone and to allow people to contribute to getting the videos they enjoy back. You are obviously not as mature as you think you are if you think putting people down because you dont agree with them is the right thing to do.

            -Alex

          • Mark July 27, 2013 at 9:19 am

            This Sheep would love to meet you face-to-face.

  • Reply Lesley June 16, 2013 at 4:48 am

    Yeah, I had thoughts of travelling to Vietnam with laptop, external hard drive, iPhone, iPod, super-zoom camera and point-and-shoot camera in tow before seeing your Tweet about all your stuff getting stolen.

    It made me re-evaluate what, exactly, was important for me to bring on my trip. Did I really need that laptop if I was bringing an iPhone? Did I really need an iPod if I was bringing said iPhone? Did I really need TWO cameras?

    The answer is “no” to all those questions. I’d just be worried about them my entire trip, and I’m be as upset as you were if they got stolen. A $100 phone I can replace. A $2000 laptop is a hardship.

    So, thanks for sharing your experience. It’s made me think in a less naive manner. I hope you save enough money to replace your cameras soon. :-)

    (Also, have you ever heard of a company called IVHQ? It’s a voluntourism company. You could volunteer with them overseas anywhere from 1 week to 6 months in some cases, and your room & board + food expenses are all covered under one fee. You should check them out if you’re looking for alternative – and cheap! – means of travelling in the future. http://www.volunteerhq.org)

    • Reply nadine June 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

      Hey Lesley,

      Thank you for reading my post :) I am glad I have helped you narrow down your electronics to the essentials, something that’s hard to do when you travel since it feels like you might miss things or leave things behind. It’s really all a matter of what is of most importance to you to have while away. How often will you be on your computer? Will people need to reach you during that period of time?

      Thank you for the link, I shall definitely check them out!!

  • Reply Alex June 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

    It’s such a shame that something like this would happen to you, but I guess that is the world we live in. Its so sucky though that you are usually so diligent about being careful and this just happens at the worst time possible when all your stuff ended up in one bag! But, like you said there is positive that will come from this. I’m sure through all this you have learned that even these possessions that were so important to you are just things that can be replaced, and I know that this will become even more true in a few days when I know for a fact you will meet (and probably exceed) your goal to get all new and wonderful things. It just shows that being so kind to people and sharing such wonderful things with the world has affected people probably more than you realize and they will be happy to return the favor. And that it is these experiences and the people you meet and sharing them with people like you do is far more important than the physical possessions that allow you to do what you do. And besides, I’m sure there are a handful of guys out there that have a big enough crush on you that they will think that giving you like $1000 will somehow impress you enough to give them a shot with you! lol But to be fair a few months ago I might have been one of them :/ , but I have more or less come to my senses since then lol. I will see what I can do and will probably be able to spare $50 dollars or so to a good cause since I am one of those people I mentioned who have been affected by your videos. If it werent for you I know I would have never went for it and taken that internship that allowed me to spend the summer in Germany last year, so I’m happy to do something to return the favor, its really the least I could do. Good Luck on your fundraising, even though I know it will be no problem for you! Can’t wait for what you will do with all this great new equipment :)

    -Alex

    • Reply nadine June 18, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      Hey Alex,

      First off, you hit the nail on the head. I am so inspired by everything right now I can hardly wait to start creating bigger and better videos! As for the response I have received from everyone, I cannot even put words to how kinda everyone has been. There is so much love from all my subscribers, all I know is that I am going to spend the rest of my YT career trying making it up to them (in a good way ). I’m also so glad to have inspired you with your internship to Germany. Don’t worry about trying to contribute if you can’t afford it atm. :) Your words are support enough.

      • Reply Alex June 19, 2013 at 5:14 am

        I was lucky enough to tell you and thank you in person for helping to inspire me when you and the YouTube gang came through Germany last year lol ( if you remember me, the Texan guy in Germany lol). But I was able to spare a donation as well and I am happy to be able to do something to help :) Looks like the donations are coming in pretty well though so hopefully soon you’ll be back behind the camera making great videos.

        -Alex

  • Reply JStocco June 16, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Strange that how you felt sounds exactly how I felt when my bike was taken. I rode it around everywhere every day. I locked it up with a fat lock and someone cut through it. I also can’t afford a replacement :(

    • Reply nadine June 19, 2013 at 3:20 am

      I am so sorry to hear about your bike. It’s strange and almost frightening how we can get attached to things so easily . I hope you’ll be able to save up for a new one soon?

  • Reply jimmbboe June 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Such an unfortunate occurrence, especially when the realization hits that there is no chance of getting the items back :( I wish you the best of luck in replacing these items!

    • Reply nadine June 19, 2013 at 3:32 am

      Yup :( Tis life. Thanks for your support!

  • Reply Derek Colman June 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    Nadine, I’m so glad you at last feel able to talk about it. Having followed you for 6 years, I was well aware how devastating it was for you, and also that you do not have the wherewithal to replace your precious 60D. I am also aware of your reluctance to ask for help due to your normal self reliance. I guess it took a lot of persuasion from friends to get you to take that step. I also don’t have much money, but like you, I only buy what I need for my life, so if something like this comes up I can always find a few quid to donate. It won’t be much, but every little helps as they say. I will donate as much as I can afford and hope that plenty of other people do the same. Our reward will hopefully be more great videos on the Nayders07 channel.

  • Reply Woman VS Tortoise - [Santa Cruz, Galapagos- Ecuador] - Funny Videos June 16, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    [...] MY BAG BEING STOLEN : http://www.heynadine.com/camera-bag-stolen-in-south-america/ SUPPORT: http://www.gofundme.com/3a5ou0 Stroll along the Galapagos’s most beautiful beach: [...]

  • Reply Scott V June 16, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    (((Nadine))) After your awesome trip to Rome last summer, you had said that we would be amazed at what the Romans had built and accomplished. One of their great accomplishments was humanist philosophy. One of their best known philosophers from 2100 years ago was Seneca who said “Ignis aurum probat, miseria fortes viros(mulieres).” which in English means ‘Fire proves gold, misery strong men(women).’ Without experiencing the darkness from such a personal loss, you would not have seen for yourself that you are indeed golden. A smart, strong, and driven woman such as yourself will be extra resilient the next time hardship drops your way.

    Please don’t let the bad guys alter the way you see the world. You rawk!

  • Reply Victor June 17, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Just wondering – how much money do you need to replace all those items? And how much have you raised so far?

    • Reply nadine June 19, 2013 at 3:36 am

      Hey Victor, I started a GoFundMe with a Goal of $5000 and that would be to cover camera equipment plus a new laptop if we reach the goal. Bare minimum would be around $3000 for a new camera. It has all the info at http://www.gofundme.com/3a5ou0

  • Reply Michael June 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I’m like you, I’m paranoid about everyone when I travel with my laptop and camera overseas. Thanks for writing out your story. One thing I can suggest, as someone who works in the federal government, to at least help with income tax liabilities (and I don’t know if you already do this or not) is to treat everything related to your video blogging as business income. It doesn’t require you to have a corporation (2 different things) and it just adds on to your regular tax return. Your income from vlogging/blogging is your business income, and your equipment, travel costs, internet, “office” (part of your rent), etc can be your business expenses. You’ll then only pay income tax on the difference of your income minus these expenses. And if you lose equipment or it dies, it can be written off. It’s well worth learning and using. You can find more info on form T2125 on CRA’s website, or you can email me and I’ll be happy to help explain or walk you through it.

  • Reply Kristen June 18, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Such a well-written post Nadine. When something important is taken from you, it feels like the end of the world in that moment. It’s pretty crazy how attached we are to “things.” You never even realize that until you lose these things that all of a sudden define you in a way.

    I think that what’s even worse is that someone came and took your stuff…they invaded your space and took what belonged to you. I had 2 cameras, $250 bucks, a watch and an ipod stolen from my room WHILE I WAS SLEEPING in India, and my reaction was very similar to yours. I barged into every other hotel room (there were 10) in this dingy hotel filled only with locals (we were the only tourist) and went through all of their stuff looking for my stuff. I turned into a mad woman. The fact that someone came into my room WHILE I was sleeping, saw me sleeping and took myself really affected me.

    I almost changed my flight and went home because I was so devastated and creeped out. But once you give yourself some time, you learn and grow from the experience. It makes you a better traveller and allowed you to share your story with others with the hopes it doesn’t happen to them.

    Thank you for sharing your story. xxoo

  • Reply David June 19, 2013 at 4:10 am

    Hey Nadine,

    Have you thought about looking into travel insurance for the future? They depending on certain situations can cover you and your stuff while traveling. You have to read the policies and exemptions carefully and KEEP all your receipts from the stuff you want covered or need covered but that may aid you going forward. I hear a lot of people use a company called World Nomads, but I haven’t investigated that fully. Worth a shot for the future.

    David

  • Reply Tobias June 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

    Hey Nadine,
    thank you very much for sharing your story with us.
    And you already reached your fundraising goal! Great :)
    As I was a part of it, I hope this helps you to buy some new good stuff!
    I’m really looking forward to your new videos, they make me happy every time I see one. :)
    All the best to you, and take care of yourself.
    Tobias

  • Reply John June 20, 2013 at 9:45 am

    You not only reached your goal, but you went past it. I can’t believe one person donated $2,500 in one shot! I guess this means new camera time! You should invest in travelers insurance in the future.

  • Reply Jackson June 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Congratulations, you’re very blessed to have reached your goal for new gear.

    I have watched your videos since I first found your interpretive wow dance video, I don’t remember how I ended up there. I’ve mainly observed since then, and only rarely commented. I haven’t managed to watch every single one of your videos, but I’ve seen quiet a few. Sadly, a lot of your original videos have been lost with time. My favourite missing ones that I can remember are the interpretive dance video, the one with the UVIC rabbits, and the sweet escape road trip. You’ve travelled a long way since then, and a camera has been with you the entire time. I understand how your world can come crashing down when something you’ve become so accustomed and reliant on disappears. At least then it gets better, and that’s about the time you realize you’ve got a whole lot of other stuff your reliant and accustomed to that you haven’t lost and you are grateful to have, regardless of how little it may be.

    If you need to get your stuff back, the best advice I can give is that you ask reddit for help, they’re the best internet detectives around. As stupid as it sounds it’s true, nothing gets past them. There were two popular threads on reddit about someone losing their phone in Brazil and later having it show up in Mexico. I don’t remember the story entirely, and a few of the comments from the threads have been lost due to people deleting their accounts, posts, or being banned; At least youtube issues you a take down notice when your upload is removed. Anyway, the general idea was that they sat back and watched the whole ordeal go down after their phone made it to Mexico, it took quiet a while for it to get into the hands of someone who was wealthy enough to have wifi access. As soon as the device had the internet their photo app started to automatically sync all of their pictures that were taken during the journey. Someone was able to figure out who had the phone by posting their pictures to the facebook account of a local in the area of where the new pictures were coming from. I don’t know if the person ever did get their phone back though or if they let them keep it just because they got what they wanted in the end. Doesn’t make sense for retribution when you get what you really wanted and all your photos have been magically returned to you thanks to a sync.

    If you want to get your phone back, you seem to have quiet a bit of evidence to track down the persons involved, and it’s a shame they may have knowingly given you the run around, just to keep the charade going. At least you got to experience the daily life of the people who are trapped and are actively choosing to lie, cheat and steal just to make ends meet. At the end of it all you came out unscathed and that could be your biggest blessing yet.

    You may not physically need any of your lost items any more, but rest assured it’s out there somewhere if you do.

    Anything can be found with the right people looking. Maybe the authorities track down the person who ends up with one of your phones for example and when asked if they can return the photos, they state that “they deleted them”. They may end the investigation there and then send you money for a new phone because its easier to send cash than something physical; and the photos are “gone” anyways. It could even get stolen during shipment home. Even funnier, they may not actually be lying when they claim they deleted them, but as I’m sure you’re aware there’s also a good chance that they don’t know you can actually recover deleted files with the right tools, and that the actual original phone is actually more important than the replacement phone. You may even get the phone back but half of your storage has been overwritten with new pictures, leaving your data recovery attempt infeasible. Just imagine trying to explain cryptography to someone who struggles to navigate their computer to find “the bank” or “the facebook”, there’s almost no point, all you can do is help them find their bank safely if they’re lost, and make sure they aren’t using a phony website because “the little security lock isn’t next to the address bar”.

    Misplacing stuff is a whole other ballgame, you could win a car and lose it in a garbage can and not know how to find it again. Whether you know that the garbage people can in fact figure out exactly how to find where a specific piece trash ends up in a landfill is one thing, whether they’ll believe you or allow you to rummage around in a land fill is another.

    If you want to check out the reddit(there’s some questionable content on the site but the general user is very friendly) threads you can here, its just interesting to think about.

    reddit.com/r/funny/comments/zsrdb/my_friend_lost_her_phone_in_brazil_icloud_has/
    reddit.com/r/funny/comments/112gho/my_friend_lost_her_phone_in_brazil_icloud_has/

    Also, ncix in burnaby, or ncix.com in general has the best costumer service and prices in canada for a computer company imo – $5k for new gear can really go a long way, and shopbot can help with pricematching(which ncix also offers) when every dollar counts. It also helps to know what you’re looking for and not to get taken for another charade.

    And here I’m just wondering if I my message is going to get lost in a random wordpress spam filter or not.

    • Reply Jackson June 22, 2013 at 4:25 am

      My first website was an automatically generated html file exported from flash.

      I had just received a new computer as a gift and I was going to teach myself how to animate. I couldn’t afford to purchase flash but thankfully I had the trial version which I downloaded with my free dial-up internet. I have to note that it wasn’t the shitty free internet with the advertisements either, they didn’t even require any software to be installed. Their only policy that I was aware of was that you had to keep your homepage set to their website, and I had only heard that from my mom. I wasn’t even aware that web pages themselves had terms of service (Why would a child know anything about terms of service?). I had to assume their service was on the honour system because they didn’t have any way to verify if I had actually set my homepage to their website, I could just visit their site once a day and they’d have a record of me viewing it. I left it set as my homepage any ways, and as a result I had free internet for ages.

      Any ways, back to flash. Naturally the first thing I would learn to animate were stick figures, they’re simple enough. Once I made my first flash video, I wanted to share it with a friend. I had to then figure out how to browse the internet and find a way to communicate with my friend online. I finally found a way to chat, and it supported file transfers, cool.

      I send him awesome.swf. “hey dude it doesn’t work” – Oh that’s right you need download this #totallylegit program. My friend then downloads some completely random program called “flash player” just because they trust me. If it was anything bad their dad would have been mad, and I would have lost his trust. The .swf still won’t play on their computer. I then get the idea that maybe this other tiny file might be useful, so I send it to him. The html file worked but “The videos too small, how do I make it bigger?”. I export my flash video as awesome.exe and send it to them. Try sending that .exe today and it’s not going very far. – Great, now it works. Then I got an idea to open up that html file to see what exactly it did and how I could make my video bigger, maybe change the background or add a title.

      My flash trial then runs out and I’m stuck looking for a way to get it to work again. Thankfully my friend that I had sent the flash video to’s dad got him a real copy of flash. I ended up getting the manual which was awesome.

      After figuring out what an html file was, I set out to figure out how to actually code. I ended up learning how to create a bunch of links, and found some other files on the internet that I wanted to link to my friends. I couldn’t send my friend a new html file every time I updated it, I needed to figure out how I could get one of those websites like the one on my homepage.

      My uncle ended up giving me some ftp account with a strange domain name that I couldn’t change, and he didn’t even say anything about space or bandwidth, I didn’t have to worry about those things. I figured out how to upload files and edit pages. Everything was great.

      I don’t remember when exactly 911 happened in this time line, or what even happened the day of 911 other than what was in front of the tv. Who were these guys and why would they fly planes into a building? If they’re on the other side of the world how come I don’t I have to go to school today, doesn’t bad stuff happen all the time all over the world?

      I continued to work on animating random videos, and eventually I wanted to see if I could find any other animators, so I can see what it is they do.

      I ended up on a site called stickdeath eventually. The website was very basic, and the videos were fairly shocking if you think about it, then again by current standards, not at all. They had a ton of videos about the war, to me it was material that I could learn to animate stick figures with.

      Later on I came upon a website called sticksuicide, currently known as explosm.net.
      It was amazing, it had forums, a place to submit videos, a place to comment on videos, and one guy named Matt Melvin programmed it. Rob DenBleyker was an animator on the website, he made an awesome series, called joe zombie. Everyone would always ask him when the next one was coming out, and it was fun to bug him about it and make yourself sound like a moron, BOE BOMBBIII 3?. There was another guy called Carl, he had a few videos, not very many, and wasn’t active in a long time, but he was still a part of the team. Dave McElfatrick wasn’t a part of the team yet because he and another guy were running stickwars, but he did post on the forum a lot. I think Kris Wilson just posted on the forums as well, but I can’t be sure. There was also this troll named Platinum Raven, the guy was hillarious, and for some reason he wasn’t banned. I always assumed it was one of the guys from the site, possibly carl, no one would suspect carl. #classiccarl – PR even created his own website in an attempt to destroy ss, it failed but his site did have a good layout.

      Once I found out about sticksuicide I decided I had to make my own website. I then learned how to register a domain name and find hosting. I had a basic website up but it was a website and I was proud of it.

      I then decided I want to learn whatever it is that makes websites update automatically. I didn’t know where to start or what to do, so I asked my uncle to make a basic hit counter for me.
      He was able to program it in the one language my host supported. All of the flash sites back in the day used classic asp, just because it’s what sticksuicide used it.

      Unfortunately the asp code was very ugly and didn’t make much sense. I then had to learn a different programming language on my own. My uncle wouldn’t have been able to help me because he didn’t work with the language. My host also didn’t support it, so I had to go look for new hosting, and I had to transfer my domain. It took days for dns to update back then.

      Once I learned how to get some basic coding done and make my website dynamic I started to build my site piece by piece. I learned to read others code and modify it myself. Meanwhile my website was building up and I had a ton of people posting on it, they were talking about all sorts of things, and I was sitting on the side lines watching. There was suprisingly a lot of talk of politics, especially from the other kids my age, but I just didn’t care, I had an awesome website.

      I hadn’t created a way for anyone to submit videos to my website yet because there was sticksuicide, why would you need another place to submit to? I had started to actively search for other animators who would like me to host and showcase their work on my website. I found quiet a few animators, a lot were way better than I was and I looked up to them. I wish I could have become better friends with Asger Grevil and John Wetherall, they made some amazing movies. Asger made a video about his brother which touched a lot of people, if he ever reads this, we all talked about how great it was, sorry for your loss.

      I managed to get Rob and a few other guys from their site on chat, even the elusive carl. Although we hardly ever talked it was still awesome to have them on my friends list.
      Robguy dubbed me “website guy”. We didn’t say much to each other but we would always spam people with animated bats to lag people out and say HAHEHEAHEHAEHAEE a lot. Childish fun, but at the same time we were dicks.

      In the mean time my friends brother who got flash had actually started animating and got really good at it, I never asked him to animate for my site because he was older than me, and he didn’t draw any sticks, but I should have asked regardless.

      No one was ever paid for contributing to the website, and I didn’t have ads, we all got what we wanted. At it’s peak I hit 20k unique visits a day. The only time I’ve ever heard my website mentioned in public was when my cousin said he saw some guy browsing it at a future shop. I was no sticksuicide but I was pretty decent.

      I once accidentally forgot to add a ‘LIMIT 1′ on the end of a DELETE statement and lost all of my forum posts, and I didn’t have a backup. The forum never really recovered after that, but a few core still remained as if nothing had happened.

      I eventually started to host other animation websites for free, and didn’t give them any limits, just to make sure they don’t purposely hit my bandwidth cap.

      My teacher had me submit my website to some school competition for websites, and the week of the judging one of the persons I hosted had a video go viral on newgrounds and it drained all my bandwidth and I got suspended. I could have possibly won a first generation ipod, and been the first in the school to have a mp3 player, but it wasn’t meant to be, I did eventually get a mp3 player though, although it was a sony cd-mp3 player, I couldn’t have been happier. Napster happened and suddenly I could listen to all the music I wanted, no matter how awful my taste.

      I decided to purchase a dedicated server for $100usd a month with my paper route money so that I would never have to worry about bandwidth again. I started a hosting company to pay for the server so I wouldn’t have to charge anyone. I’ve had my server hacked a few times, and each time I had to learn more to prepare for the future, even though I may never be able to be fully secure.

      I was black mailed by another kid my age, he didn’t even bother to hide his real name and I knew exactly where he lived, but he was in the states. He wanted me to pay otherwise he would delete everything I hosted. He ended up deleting my website because I told him I wouldn’t pay. I put up a basic news bulletin and a google ad for the first time, I remember receiving my only cheque from google I’ve ever got, it was for $100usd. My website was basically dead but somehow I managed to make some money, I was pretty proud.

      I kept paying for the server out of my own pocket to host those other websites that depended on me, but it couldn’t go on forever because someone else eventually found another exploit and started seeding torrents and wasted all of my bandwidth and I had to give the server up.

      Smosh used to be a competing website, we were never affiliates but they linked to my real life friends site that I hosted on a subdomain, and they were really good friends with each other. I managed to get some more exposure that way. They jumped ship to youtube at the perfect time and rode it to the top.

      I spent a year and a half working on a replacement for arena junkies only for blizzard to completely disable the armory api for a year.

      There’s countless shit, it sucks, but that’s life. This is the closest thing to a blog that I have about what I’ve been up to.

      I’ve done a bunch of bad shit online at times, but I’ve done some good too. I’m a facebook whitehat and I patched a bug that let anyone see who’s sent a friend request to anyone specific person, but sadly when you google my name it doesn’t show up because google doesn’t index the facebook whitehat list. Maybe when I’m old and grey someone will interview me when they’re making a facebook documentary and they’ll ask why I didn’t say anything about general privacy issues and I’ll have to say, have you never heard of archive.org? you can read pretty much anything I’ve ever said and I could get in trouble for it at any time but haven’t. It’s a lot easier to be a blackhat but I choose not to be one, I’d hate to be in a position like that where you worry all the time when someone’s going to catch you.

      If anyone I listed ever googles themselves and finds themselves here, and they will, they always do. The internet we loved is dead. It’s been a wild west for a long time, but with the latest news of who might aswell be referred to as “voldemort”, I wonder if people will ever feel comfortable using the internet however they want again, or if we’ve created a generation who are going to be self censoring themselves because they’re too afraid to be their selves. No ones talking on freenode anymore, and ycombinators saying it’s the end of the world and that the industry will never recover again if every bit of information you’ve ever done is going to sit in a database somewhere where it can be looked at with no oversight.

      Nadine, I’m sorry for posting publically on your website, but you’re one of my favorite internet persons around, if you ever want to talk about the internet or play golf let me know. This post could be either seen by a lot, or none at all. If you still plan to be a vj, you should do an interview with nardwaur, or the history of vancouver music. Nardwaur got his first interview with kurt cobain because “it never hurt to ask”.

      Why do you make instagram videos that are like vine videos? Because that’s what’s popular and what people can understand.

      In the event that this ends up on something like /r/cringe –> yallneedjesus.png
      or /r/restoretheforth, I think most of us just want to be left alone, it’s what we choose to do with our knowledge of others

  • Reply Cassidy June 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    I’m going to be travelling abroad in a week. This was a wake-up call. Definetly going to pare down the items that I bring with me and clutch on for dear life! Thank you and I’m sorry about your lost items!

  • Reply Mark July 27, 2013 at 8:43 am

    I’ll try to keep it short– I have been watching the video Vlogs of this this talented and attractive young woman for some time. Her heart is pure and her words are honest. I consider it an honor to donate to her cause and would like to thank her for the countless hours of work just to bring a few minutes of entertainment into my life.

  • Reply amit August 12, 2013 at 1:50 am

    Very cool blog..Would love to travel with you someday :)

  • Reply Lucy August 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Cannot believe you are a travel vlogger and didnt get item insurance. That is INSANE – that would be the first thing I would advise people to get if I was advising them on travel.

    I lost my bag in Switzerland (completely 100% my fault- left it on a train) and It’s covered by travel insurance!!

    I just cannot comprehend this- WHHAT

    • Reply David September 11, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      Is there an insurance company you would recommend? I’m not sure if you are from Canada but here in Canada I have looked at dozens of insurance company’s policies and the maximum value they will cover is often in the range of $500 – $1500 which is certainly not enough when you are carrying a laptop, DSLR and a lens or two.

  • Reply Viviane September 7, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Hi Nadine, I know how that feels like, you never know when you’ll get stolen, an interesting fact is that I am from Brazil and I was never stolen here, but in Amsterdam I got my new iPad stolen at my hotel, and in Las Vegas my watch and some jewels, and both were stolen in the hotel room, probably who cleaned the room did that, it wasn’t even on the street or anything. I was really upset and the hotel said that couldn’t do anything in both places. So the lesson is, you’re not safe anywhere in the world unfortunately :(

  • Reply Jonathan Stone (@JonathanStone10) October 4, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Hope you still enjoyed Baños though. Was there at the same time as you, doing research on the volcano.

  • Reply Chris McNeill December 7, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Nadine, I love that you shared this with us. I follow you on youtube and instagram and you are a HUGE inspiration to me and one day i WILL travel the world and document it also. But I am very sad that this happened to you and I’m also very impressed at the way you are handling it and taking the positive out of it. Just keep doing what you’re doing and know that a lot of people including me, love you for what you do, your personality in all your videos makes me excited for the next one. You are amazing!

  • Reply #60Days in Paradise | Hey Nadine March 12, 2014 at 9:00 pm

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  • Reply Víctor D. Vargas August 29, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Hello Nadine, I know this is an old post but anyway, I’ve watched some of your vídeos since you started on youtube filming with crappy equipment, I really enjoyed the stuff you came out with just that, and I need to say it, for some people like myself, who live in Latinamerica, we all get a lot of jealousy of people from developed countries because of all the things that your are able to accomplish with so little.
    And please, don’t get it the wrong way, I’m not saying that you don’t make any effort to put together those wonderfull videos, I’m sure you do, and what you explain on this post clrearly shows just that.
    What I mean is that people here never, and I mean ‘never’, in ther lives, are going to do even 5% of what you do, people here starve to death, fight each other, and as your camera got stollen, here little kids get stollen.
    I’m sure you are a mature person, I’ve seen that on your vídeos, and some of your posts, but also you’re kind of living in a bubble, in every country that you step foot in, I deal from time to time with tourists from usa specially, and its a very common thing, like a detachment from the place you are in.
    I’m sorry that this happened to you in Latinamerica, a place that I hold dear, this is sch a beautifull place, I’m sure you agree with me, but also this is our reallity, for us that live her, we live with hope and dispair every day.
    So don’t be sad for a camera gotten stolen, hell I’m an amateur photographer, and if my camera get stollen I might need a couple of years to get it back :P, be thankfull for your life, you are living and extraordinary life, and I know that being a video blogger is your life and your passion, and I feel the same way, our cameras are our babies, but most importantly, your mind, and your creativity are what really matter, I’m sure you can do extraordinary traveling vídeos with a 10 year old phone, in your badtub.
    Please don’t get discouraged for bad things like this happening in places you go, remember they might steal your equipment, but they can never steal your soul, and thats what we see on your vídeos, not which camera you used, or how nice the HD looks like, it whats you, and your soul reaching out to us from some amazing places of this beutifull earth.

    Keep traveling Nadine, Keep living.
    Best,
    Daniel.
    PS – sorry my crappy english :P

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