Okay so that title was misleading… of course I had insurance (I’m not a complete idiot!), but I left all my insurance paperwork in Greece! (okay, a little bit of an idiot). This experience was a REAL eye-opener; it has shown me the value of good travel insurance, and that I really am a glass-half-full person.
Let me set the scene for you. I visited Egypt back in June, 2012, before a lot of craziness was going on in the country, and although I was a solo traveller, I chose to do a group tour in Egypt, with 7 other people including the Tour Guide.
On that fateful night in Hurghada when I was mugged, I’d been out with 3 other friends, a mix of males and females. We’d enjoyed a peaceful stroll down to the beach nearby and were casually walking back to our lovely hotel. We hadn’t been drinking, we weren’t wearing offensive clothing, and it was only about 8pm.
As we approached our hotel, we admired all the little shops and street vendors. It was early for Egypt; this place doesn’t sleep! It’s during the night-time, while the temperatures are bearable, that all the tourists and locals come out to play, shop and even get their hair cut at all hours of the night – seriously I saw someone at 4am getting their hair done?!
There were people milling about, setting up stalls and chatting with friends and colleagues. We could see our hotel, just 150 metres away, and continued walking. In the relatively quiet, early night, we listened to cars and motorbikes’ horns beep as they whizzed around the streets.
Then… it was as if time slowed completely. I can recall every single moment as I struggled to comprehend what was happening right in front of my eyes.
Two guys on a motorbike rode right up beside me and one grabbed the strap of my handbag that was over my left shoulder. My left hand was already gripping the bag part as I felt the force of my bag being ripped from me as if it was in slow motion.
You think you know yourself well. You think you know how you’d react in a dangerous situation. But I have no idea why my body did what it did. Hell, I don’t even know HOW it did it!
As those precious moments ticked over, my whole body was wrenched forward, my left arm feeling like it was going to rip off as the motorbike picked up speed for its getaway.
But somehow, I held on. Why or how? I don’t know. As the bike took off, my grip tightened and I was running so fast to keep up. In reality this was probably 5-7 steps. But as I watched that rear motorbike wheel spin each individual rotation, it got closer and closer to my face. I started to fall, my feet no longer able to keep up with the motorbike’s speed, and I closed my eyes tight, bracing for what was about to come. I have no idea why my hand physically could not let go.
Just before my face hit the frantically spinning rubber tyre, the muggers let go. My body immediately went into protection mode and somehow I spun almost 180 degrees and smashed the back of my head on the concrete. I had scrapes and bruises in the weirdest places; it just didn’t add up. My body must have fully twisted with everything it had to try to protect my face. And I’m so thankful it did. Almost as soon as I hit the ground, I jumped straight up and was absolutely filled with adrenalin. I can’t even begin to explain what that feeling is like. The blood was pulsating through my veins at a hundred miles an hour. I was fired up, and pissed off. How dare they try to steal my 2 months of photo memories on full SD cards, my camera, my iPhone, my credit cards, my everything!
My friends were in shock, there was blood coming out the back of my head, and here I was bounding around in the middle of the road ready to take on anyone! I was later told that my friends and a group of local street vendors all immediately ran at the motorbike muggers as well. And perhaps this is what saved me…or at least my face.
We hurried back to the hotel and I was driven by our local guide to the emergency room. Once we arrived, the first thing they asked for was my insurance. As Egypt was an extension tour to my Europe trip, the bulk of my luggage stayed in Greece for the week, along with all my insurance papers (DOH!). Thankfully I’d booked CoverMore Insurance and was able to call their 24/7 helpline and speak to an Australian person to figure out what I needed to do. Even though I was flustered after being mugged and didn’t even have my insurance details on me, they sorted it all out. I got to speak to an Australian Doctor to ensure I was in a reputable hospital and receiving the correct care.
As it turned out, I had a concussion, and required scans of my head to check for any swelling or fractures. I’d also hurt my left hand pretty bad and they x-rayed that as well. I was very lucky that night. Things could have panned out very differently. I’m also thankful to CoverMore for looking after me when I needed it the most. Having a familiar voice in amongst all the chaos who was able to calmly sort everything out, even though I didn’t have any details with me, was something you could not put a price on.
But you know what, I don’t look at this part of my holiday as a negative. There are always going to be shitty people who do shitty things, no matter if you’re on the other side of the planet, or in your own street. That night I had a group of complete strangers jump in to help me without hesitation – not knowing whether these biker guys had weapons. I had a local guide who took me to the hospital and sat with me until 4am until I was allowed to go home. I had an insurance company who had my back when my world was quite literally flipped upside-down. And I had my bag, with all my stupid material possessions I’d be devastated without.
These experiences make you stronger, and this has really shown me that I am a glass-half-full person. I didn’t let these stupid muggers ruin my holiday. I picked myself back up and got on with my amazing trip of a lifetime.
I’d love to hear if you’ve had a similar experience while travelling? Did it change your view of the country? Each story is different and I’d love to hear yours.