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West Virginia
When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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October 23, 2014

A break in travel while I confess...

My posts have not been as informative and detailed as I like to make them partly because I've not had a good guidebook filled with those kind of details, but also because I've been fairly stressed out since Monday which has left me a little worn out, frazzled and without the gumption to look everything up on line.

I wasn't going to tell anyone about it but I feel like I owe an explanation for my haphazard reporting so I will explain, but with the proviso that my children, sister, and close friends don't all decide that they have to stop me from ever traveling again! :)  Monday morning, I went out as usual with my purse on my arm and camera in hand to take my morning picture of the water.  I had a bottle of water also and put that down when I got over to the railing, went to take my pictures and discovered that my camera was either battery-less or card-less - I forget which.  Got all put out with myself, marched back into my room, came over to the desk and sat down to put the whichever in the camera, got back up, got the key and my purse wasn't anywhere - not on the doorknob where I put it when I know I'll be in the room a while, not on the bed where I toss it if I'm going right back out, not in the closet, not in the bathroom, nowhere.  PANIC!!!  I must have set it down on the sidewalk too.  I got downstairs, ran across the street and, of course, no purse - I didn't expect there to be.  Utterly, totally distraught, I stopped at the desk and told the lady that my purse had been stolen.  It had my passport, my wallet with 2 credit cards and my debit card for cash withdrawals, whatever cash I had (euros and American) and my I-phone.  I DID have a copy of my passport in the room and she told me to get it and she would call the police first.  She did that and they told her I needed to first of all cancel my cards and then go to them to fill out a report.

I came back upstairs and first called my credit union to put a freeze on the account, their message system wasn't working, so I called my friend Jamie's work number and left her a message asking her to call for me when she got in. Then I called the AMEX card and got it deactivated.  They said they could send me a temporary card but it could take 3-5 days and since I was leaving in four I said no.  Then I called Cap 1 the card I always use and told them.  When you tell a bank that your card's been stolen, they immediately deactivate it even though there will be more to talk about.  She put me on hold at some point.  I was sitting on my bed, staring at the wall and noticed  this:

Do you see that little bit of brown sticking out from behind the drapes?  That's my purse.  Apparently when I plopped myself down at the desk to put the whatever in the camera, I plopped the purse there.  Granted, in a perfect world, maybe I should have seen it.  But in an increasingly panic-driven search, I missed it. And in my defense, I lightened this picture and cropped out about half the bed so you'd be able to see it.  I was in a relatively dark room and was stressed.  Basically it was a huge relief, but of course both my credit cards had been deactivated..I did call my friend Jamie and at home this time and told her to ignore the message so I do have a useable debit card.  Cap 1 told me they would have my temp one to me within 24-48 hours, so that would be Wednesday at the latest.  Fine.  However...by Tuesday morning, I started getting worried again because AMEX (whom I've never cared for and only signed up for the card to get 50,000 miles) sent me two e-mails in the space of 24 hours updating me on their actions - Cap 1 I hadn't heard from at all.  They had told me on Monday that I should expect a phone call or an e-mail from the actual Visa company verifying that I had indeed requested a temporary replacement card and so when I got neither, I decided I'd better call again.  This time the rep I got looked at everything and said yes, I should be getting that within 24 to 48 hours.  I said it's already been over 24 hours, are we starting over?  I think that confused her or something cause she said okay now it would be 24 hours.  That call wasn't too reassuring somehow.  So Tuesday afternoon with still no e-mails, calls or anything from Visa, I called Cap 1 yet again and got sent higher to a manager type person who checked into things and said "gee, I called Visa and they say they never got that request!"  So we chewed that over for a while and he was going to get to the bottom of this for me and said he would resubmit it and then in 10 minutes or so call them to verify that they had indeed received the request.  I said okay fine - I was going to put him on speaker and I would wait until he came back on the phone and could tell me that for sure they had received it and would send it by now pretty darn pronto.  That's what we did and when he came back on the line, yes, he had verified it and it would be delivered to the hotel on Thursday (today).

So today with still no e-mails or anything except this man's word (and I was pretty low on faith in peoples' words at this point), I asked the woman at the desk about when they get their mail/UPS and she said around noon.  She said did they give you a tracking number - I could look it up for you.  I said no and that was part of my problem I had received no information from them.  We decided I should call and get a tracking number.  So I made that call and got put through to another couple of supervisory people and was told they don't normally give out tracking numbers.  But the package was in Italy and I should have it by close of business today.  I'm sort of thinking "yeah, right" since there is a 6 hour time difference (although I asked USA's or Italy's 5:00 and he said Italy).  But I won't be leaving here til around one tomorrow so I have until then.  Since Monday I've been paying for everything with cash and it will be tight if I don't get that card.  I think I have enough left in my bank accounts to get me home but that's about all and although it was my mistake not seeing the purse, I'm pretty angry that I could have had the card by Wednesday if it had been handled properly in the first place.

I've loved my Cap1 card ever since I got it and have always raved about the service, the rewards program, the no fees overseas, etc., and it's all true.  Even throughout this experience the people were helpful.  But I'm really put out with them right now.  If I hadn't called back on Tuesday and they discovered the request had not gone through, I'd be sitting here waiting for something that I definitely wasn't going to receive.  This way, I'm sitting here waiting for something that I may receive.

So that's my rather sad story and it's made this week pretty stressful.  But, family, like I said at the beginning this does not mean I shouldn't travel anymore.  I think once it happened, I handled the situation about as well as could be expected.  Right now, I'm just tired and want to move on to the next stop with a credit card in my wallet!


Anonymous said...

Mary Lynne, this could happen to anyone. You won't believe the trail of belongings that my husband has left on trips and frantic searches to no avail and we are much younger! Thanks for the heads up on cap 1. We use them because of no fees for foreign transactions.

Lisa in WV

Anonymous said...

So sorry that you had to go thru this. And as for the reason, well you're probably not the first or the last to have this happen. You did all the right things at the time. Hope the card showed up.

Christopher said...

I was feeling the stress right there with you as I read this post... What a scary, sinking feeling that brings. I'm so glad now (much later) to hear your replacement card arrived! Onward, intrepid traveler!

January said...

That is some of the most panicky panic you can feel - poor Mama! Hooray for a very easy recovery, though. I'd give you a hug and a high-five for springing into action to cancel things immediately rather than wandering around desperately looking for it - even if it turned out you didn't need to. Good job! That's the proof you're still more than capable of travelling alone :)

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