My travel luck ran out last Friday on the train from Tunis to Sousse.
It was six in the morning and I was jet-lagged, insufficiently caffeinated, and burdened by two heavy suitcases, a heavy leather duffel, and a bulging nylon shoulder bag.
As I struggled to board the train, a fellow pushed by me. Then he feigned confusion, turned around, and pushed by me again. And again.
My only thought at that time was “what a rude idiot.” It never even occurred to me that he was actually a smart thief.
It wasn’t until I got to my seat and saw a zippered compartment of my shoulder bag open that I realized what had happened: I’d been robbed of an cash envelope that had been in my bag.
The only other time I was ever robbed while traveling was in Bath, England, about 25 years ago, at a very posh B&B. I suppose I can bear it once every quarter century.
I think of my loss now as tuition in the College of Hard Knocks & Unmindfulness. Last Friday, though, I was pretty miserable. And my first look at Sousse was colored by the loss of my hard-earned cash. I thought seriously of turning around and heading back to the US or to China.
I’ve since recovered most of my usual good humor and curiosity about Tunisia and the world around me. But in my last 14 months of travel to ten different countries, I have never felt so low.