When you travel full time you hear a lot of stories about fellow travelers who have run into bad situations dealing with theft. There are many blog posts out there on how to avoid being burgled, pick-pocketed, etc. in areas all over the world. When we head to a new area we read up on these tips, take the safety precautions very seriously, and hope that we won’t ever have to deal with such a situation. Up to this point we have been very lucky. In our travels we have never had any direct interaction with thieves or anyone that might try and do harm to our family.
However, this past week our luck finally ran out as we were awoken very early Friday morning to an intruder attempting to open the courtyard-facing door that leads to our bedroom. It is a very good thing that Five Spice has an obsessive habit of checking on the kids whenever there is any sound at night. For the past seven years she has slept with one ear trained on the children, and any cough, cry, or strange noise sends her running to their bedside. Usually it is nothing and she staggers back to bed. However, this time she awoke to find a young man standing at the screen door to our bedroom. Luckily the house we are staying in has bars over the windows and locked gates over the doors. So, even if we leave the inside doors open for ventilation we are protected by a sturdy gate.
The intruder was attempting to unlock the gate when Five Spice noticed him and that is when we went into our protective parent mode. Our first thoughts weren’t that this person was here to try to steal from us, but that a stranger was in close proximity to our children. So, we stood at our gate and screamed threateningly at the intruder in Spanglish like a bunch of wild apes while he quickly climbed back onto the roof and fled the property. In retrospect maybe not the smartest course of action but instinct took over. Of course our yelling woke the children who were more than a little freaked out.
When we all calmed down we spent the rest of the night (who can sleep after that?) talking about how we were completely safe and had done everything we could have done by locking all the entrances to our house. We talked about how this situation could have occurred anywhere and that based on the intruders actions he was just after valuables and not here with the intent to harm us. However, we quickly realized that once a situation like this has occurred it is really hard to get that jumpy, looking over your shoulder reaction out of your brain. The roof of our rental house is not secure and we cannot prevent people from accessing it from the abandoned property next door (a property that seems to be home to many folks down on their luck). It is unfortunate that we can’t do anything to make the roof of our rental more secure and it is very troubling to us all that we can’t feel safe in our courtyard, which we dearly love.
Luckily this travel lifestyle that we have chosen gives us the option to leave such an uncomfortable situation behind. So, tomorrow we will take the bus to Cozumel where we are hoping to put this situation behind us. We are so incredibly grateful that we have the luxury to leave an uncomfortable or unsafe situation when there are so many in this world that can’t. While the past days have not been the most pleasant we have learned many lessons as a family and we will take these with us as we continue to explore the world.