Last fall, I went to the Grand Canyon with my friend, Kambri. (It was a dream trip that helped kick off my 30-Day Challenges starting with “See Ya, Bucko” where I let one thing go every day.) On that trip, I knew that I wanted to be one with nature and soak it all in. I also knew that I’d want to journal and the easiest way for me to do that is on my laptop. However, since I’m tethered to it at least 10 hours a day, I desperately wanted a break from it.
I debated whether to bring it and then called the two places where we were staying to see if they had safes. One did and one didn’t. Of course.
My friend, Dawn, who travels a ton, suggested I bring a lock for my suitcase for the hotel that didn’t have a safe. Brilliant! I found a lock, packed my stuff including my laptop and headed off to the Grand Canyon.
Like many people, my life is on that laptop. Even though I back it up, I’d be heartbroken if anyone stole it and that was my fear. Thanks, New York City. When you live here, you put your guard up for obvious reasons.
In some ways, good.
(Protect yourself from crazy like when I rode the subway the other night with a guy who was smoking a cigarette on the train. I moved down the car to get away from the stench and the gibberish he was spewing.)
In some ways, bad.
(When you’re always on alert about being pickpocketed, scammed, robbed and the like, you begin to not trust people.)
And nowhere is that more apparent than when I’m out in public working and I need to use the bathroom. Whether I’m at a coffee shop, the library, you name it, I don’t like to leave my things behind.
I usually leave some trace that I’m holding the table (e.g., notebook, pen, power cord) and I pack up my laptop, phone and wallet into my backpack. It gives me comfort and peace of mind.
On top of that, I still ask someone close by (usually a woman because that’s what women do - hello, trust) to watch my stuff. She always agrees and then I head off to the loo.
The only place I don’t do that, without fail, is at my co-working space, The Wing. It’s all women and it’s so freeing to be able to walk away and not have to ask anyone to watch my stuff. People leave all kinds of things out in the open there and I’ve done the same. Things like:
My backpack, which contains my wallet and keys
At first, it was so foreign to me, but incredibly liberating. I loved not having to race back to make sure my things were still there. Talk about letting go.
After a few months, I tested it even more by going out for lunch and leaving everything but my phone there. I was a little anxious while I was gone, but tried to remember that I leave things there all the time. That was a true test and a good one. I trust that space and when I came back, nothing had moved. Hallelujah!
Not every place is like that though. In fact, they’re definitely the exception and not the rule.
Yesterday, I met up with my friend, Amy, at her co-working space in midtown. We sat together at first and when I had to use the facilities, I asked her to watch my stuff. She assured me I didn’t need to worry about it, but since I was new to the space, I double-checked. Let’s be honest, I was in auto-pilot mode.
A few hours later, Amy needed to leave, so I was flying (no pun intended) solo. When it came time to go to the bathroom (which is often because I drink a shit-ton of water), I could have easily asked the woman sitting near me to watch my belongings, but I decided to trust Amy and the other people working there and I left all of my belongings out in the open. (Okay, to be fair, the bathroom was wicked close to my table. I also tucked my phone away, but otherwise, everything was fair game.)
I walked away and wasn’t even nervous. When I returned, everything was there. I was thrilled. So much, in fact, that I did it again a few hours later (baby steps) and had the same result.
Will I leave my stuff out everywhere I go? Of course, not.
Did I end up journaling on my laptop when I was in the Grand Canyon? No, but I did do a lot of work on it on the plane and that made it worth it.
Did anyone steal it? No.
Have any of my belongings in these situations ever been stolen? Thankfully, no, but I rarely give them the chance to do so. :)
Do I have trust issues? Yes, but I’m working on them. Trust me. ;)
Do you leave your things out in public? Do you trust people in these situations or do you pack up all of your stuff to use the bathroom? Tell me below.