Travel Story: A Pickpocketing in Ireland

This is the story of Krista Gulbransen of San Francisco who was on vacation in Dublin with a friend who was visiting her father for the summer. Krista and her friend were taking public transportation to get around town while doing some shopping.

What happened? We were boarding the bus to take us back to the train station to get home (she lived about 30 miles outside of Dublin). I was waiting in line out on the street, talking with my friend. I had my purse on my shoulder. It was a simple purse with a zipper to close it but I don't think I had the zipper closed. But I didn't necessarily have the bag swinging all around for the world to see.

When I got on the bus and went inside my purse to get money for a ticket or whatever I was doing at that point, I noticed my wallet was gone. I remember being totally confused and not even thinking I could have possibly been pickpocketed! You think of a pickpocket dipping their hand into the back pocket of your pants or something. I think my friend realized what had happened more quickly than I had.

What did they take? I didn't lose a whole lot but a good chunk of cash, a couple of credit cards and some beloved wallet pictures! I remember being really, really upset (I was younger and it was the first time I ever had that happen to me although I'm a savvy traveler).

This was at the beginning of my trip so I had to get things replaced so I could stay in the country. Luckily, I didn't have my passport with me. I actually went back to Dublin to do the same shopping trip while I was still there (maybe a week later). I remember changing my habits quite a bit. I still insisted on my purse (why, I don't know) but I slung it across my chest (New York Style, as they call it) and held on to it really tight.

How has being pickpocketed affected your travel style?  I've been holding on really tight ever since...I totally carry my purse wherever I go, in a really protective manner like that. Even in San Francisco. It's just habit born out of the fact that I felt traumatized by that experience! And I've changed my habits based on others’ experiences as well, like slinging a purse over a chair while eating and the straps getting cut and the purse stolen. Or like my mom who put her purse in a shopping cart, bent down to get something on a lower shelf and they stole her wallet.

It’s unfortunate that this one bad experience has changed her whole life and trust in people, even where she lives and goes out every day. Being more aware of your surroundings and those around you can always be a plus, as is getting a more secure bag for your trip, even if it is still a handbag. A cross-body bag is better than a traditional shoulder bag, as it keeps your purse on your front and within your line of sight at all times. It’s also harder for someone to dip into a bag that is closer to your body. Thank you for sharing your pickpocketing experience, Krista.

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