Last weekend, I headed to Apollo Bay for a yoga retreat. Part of the program involved going to the beach. Without thinking, I took my phone with me.
Now, I have a habit of stashing things in my pocket. Once it was time to head back to our lodgings, we stopped on a grassy area to brush the beach sand from our feet. The sun was glorious that day so I took a few extra moments basking in the sun, with my phone still in my pocket.
When I made it back to the lodgings, I realised my phone was gone. I re-traced my steps in my mind, so I calculated that the phone slipped out of my pocket on that grassy area. Damn!
Travel Tip #1: It pays to lose your phone in a regional town
What I realised from this ordeal is that there’s a greater chance of getting your phone back than in more remote areas. Your search area is smaller and the town’s residents are more connected. Plus, travelling distance is minimal.
Travel Tip #2: Act fast, even if everyone has your back
Another benefit of losing your phone in a regional town is that people rally around you. They seem more compassionate, more concerned and more willing to help you. After I returned to the grassy area and scoured it unsuccessfully, I then visited every business across the road. This ensured I checked in case someone might’ve handed your phone in to someone. Also, this is a great way to gain local knowledge. In Australia, it’s always an idea to check at the local pub too.
One shop owner suggested I check at the nearby Information Centre. A local patron in another shop, who overheard my predicament, suggested I report my missing phone to the local police. She was even kind enough to give me directions. It’s a good idea to act as fast as possible, once you know you’ve lost your phone.
Travel Tip #3: Leave your details with everyone you know
Before I left Melbourne the day before, I realised I forgot to leave an emergency phone number for my husband. He was still in Melbourne. Whenever I was asked for my details, I gave the details of where I was staying. In hindsight, it’s best to write down a contact phone number of a person you’re staying with on a piece of paper. Then that way, you’re indirectly contactable.
Travel Tip #4: Expect a number of questions from the local police
The local police officer who helped me was ever-so laidback and kind. In his words, at this time of year he mostly deals with ‘lost wallets, lost phones and lost kids’. He expects this kind of thing to happen, even though you might be stressing over losing your phone.
Be prepared to give a good description of your phone – make, model, colour, case or no case, etc. Also, be prepared to leave a phone number of a next of kin instead of where you’re staying. Luckily, I remembered my husband’s number. So, all that was left to do after that? Wait and see if anyone handed it in.
Travel Tip #5: Try calling your phone, too
Before I left my lodgings to look for my phone, I used a friend’s phone to call my own phone number. While no one answered, it was still worth a try. You never know – someone may answer. In my case, no one did but it’s still something to tick off the list.
Also, don’t forget to call your next of kin to tell them what happened and to expect a call from the police if the phone is actually found.
Travel Tip #6: If it’s meant to be, it will be…
I remember growing up hearing this saying all the time from family members. So, I’ve grown up to realise that there is only a certain amount in this life that is in your control. Everything else after that relies on the outside world – kindness of strangers, the planets aligning, luck or karma. You get the idea.
Whatever you believe in will be in control of the outcome of this crappy situation once you’ve done everything in your power. Just remember, your crappy travel situation isn’t as bad as someone else’s crappy travel situation. Take a deep breath and just deal with it as best as possible.
A bonus tip or two…
In the end, the stars did align for me. A family visiting the area was kind and compassionate enough to find the phone and do the right thing. They handed it in to the local police station. The police officer who helped me successfully solved one more lost and found case and my phone was back with me within the space of about three hours.
If you’re lucky enough to get your phone back, be sure to pay the kindness forward. Help someone else in distress, keep the people who help you in your thoughts and meditations, and spread that kindness far and wide via other acts of kindness. Never take kindness for granted.
Another travel tip of the day, Travellers? Put your phone in a secure bag when you’re at the beach. Or – better still – leave it behind in the safety of your accommodation. Time away from your phone is a precious thing.