I know, it’s crazy to say that I’m grateful to have lost my ATM card while traveling, and to be honest, I’m still hyperventilating about it! But I’ve found over and over again that when I am positive and trust in the universe, (God, The Creator, The Law of Attraction, etcetera) that I will manifest wonderful things. Even when some pretty horrific things have happened in my life, good has come from it.

For example, when my ex-husband and I were going through a divorce, it was pretty painful. He was my best friend, but we were not the right match for each other. When I found out that I could not have children, I made it impossible for him to stay with me. A month after we separated, our house burned down. On my birthday. I had a licensed daycare business on one floor so I lost my income as well. And, the house fell on my car. Shortly after the devastating fire occurred we found out that the new insurance company we’d recently switched to had scammed us. We lost everything.

Pretty shitty, right? Well, yes. But everything happens for a reason.

Finally, I was free. I had no husband telling me what to do, no mortgage to pay, no business to stress over, and no children to take care of. Not my own, nor anybody else’s.

Since then I’ve traveled to over 50 countries, I’ve lived in 6, and I’m currently in Bali.

I’m way too close to the base of Mt. Agung, the volcano that the experts expect to erupt at any moment, and I’m halfway through a six week trip through Southeast Asia, volunteering with a group that is helping over 5000 refugees at unofficial camps, so while I’m normally filled with anxiety when I travel, this is a whole other level of being stressed out. This impending natural disaster could have devastating effects (like a massive earthquake and possibly even a major tsunami), so I had already bitten my nails down to the quick…and then I lost my ATM card.

To say I’m freaked out is an understatement.

But, today, as I raced my rented scooter up and down winding mountain roads, I stopped several times to enjoy breathtaking views of the ocean, endless rice patty fields, and stunning trees that lined the roads with pink and red and coral flowers, and I reminded myself of how lucky I am. In fact, how grateful I am that I lost my ATM card.

I know, I know, that does sound crazy, especially when the money I have may not last me the entire month as I leave Bali and travel through Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. But as I reflected on the good that has come from this experience, I know that I am going to be okay. Below are 10 reasons I’m glad I lost my bank card.

  1. Immediately when I realized my bank card was lost, Michele the woman running Team Action for Amed (the group I came to volunteer with) posted in the Amed Community group on Facebook and explained what happened. Immediately, several people gave supportive and helpful advice. One person (who owns a gorgeous place called Oasis located right next to the ATM machine I withdrew cash from a few days ago) said that oftentimes people are able to get the bank to retrieve lost cards from the machine, so I’m hopeful that they could find my card in there.
  2. Michele also offered for me to stay at her place (for free) saving me on accommodations for yet another week.
  3. Michele, and another volunteer angel from Team Action for Amed, both offered to let me transfer the cash in my account to their Paypal accounts, allowing me at least the access to the money I’d budgeted for two of the next four weeks.
  4. My friend demanded I state 10 positive things about myself to get out of my negative funk, and reminded me that I’m always talking about The Law of Attraction.
  5. “Trust” has become my mantra, and although I’m not quite there yet, they say “Fake it ’til you make it,” so I’m chanting it over and over again and I think it’s beginning to work.
  6. I spent the morning with Laura, another volunteer I met when I arrived. Laura is an incredible, amazing woman with fantastic stories, like the time she coordinated an incredible (and extremely dangerous) three-month trek through the Amazon jungle. The trek was filmed and ultimately became a documentary. She also shared with me how she survived the 2004 tsunami after waking up on the exact beach in Thailand where the tsunami hit. She bought me “kopi” (Balinese coffee) from Aiona Health Resort and Restaurant, a magical, hidden place with lots of mango trees and bubbling fountains and fish ponds and she convinced me to meet up with her in Ubud, the next place on her journey.
  7. Laura then showed me the villa where Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love), stayed for several months as she wrote the famous travel memoir.
  8. After seven years of not dating, Shortly before traveling to Bali I met a nice guy. When I told him about the refugees in the camps, he admitted that he was nervous about me being in danger so close to the volcano, but supported my decision to volunteer and said he hoped that we would travel together someday. Then he offered to be a backup sitter for my dog in case of an emergency. Anyone who knows me understands that my dog is my baby. The same man immediately sent me a message saying, “I get paid next week and I’ll send you something for your birthday.” I don’t expect any man to give me money nor fund my travels- especially not a man I’ve only just met. But knowing that a man is a caring, loving, generous man makes me eager to get to know him even more. I want someone who is empathetic and kind, one who cares about people, and animals, and refugees that he’s never even met. I don’t give a damn how much money someone has, but I do care whether they have a big heart. I am fiercely proud and independent and I hate asking anybody for help. But losing my ATM card has shown me who I can count on in an emergency.
  9. When I worry about money, I fill my house with food and cook up a storm. It’s an irrational fear that I’m going to starve to death. Somehow, buying fresh vegetables and fruits and getting into a kitchen and chopping and cutting and dicing and slicing has a calming effect on me, especially when I’m cooking for other people. I’ve wanted to cook for Michele my host, for several days, so today I went to a local market and bought a bunch of food. I sauteed onions and fresh garlic and tomatoes and eggplant and simmered it all in coconut oil, making a fabulous spaghetti bolognese. I thought about how grateful I am to have a place to stay, and enough cash to be able to buy fresh produce and make a delicious meal for my new friend.
  10. I took a really long drive with the breeze blowing through my hair as I pushed past my fears and anxieties, half terrified, half thrilled as I sped up and down the steep hills and curves of the mountain and thought about how my temporary challenge of surviving a one month journey on a one week budget is nothing compared to the struggles that the thousands of Balinese evacuees were facing. They’ve lost their homes, their possessions, and their farms (which was their sole source of income and means of survival), and things were only going to worsen once Mt. Agung actually erupted.

I’ve learned a few things so far as a result of misplaced my ATM card. I’ve learned to have a backup plan and that banks will usually mail a new card within a week. I’m learning to trust in God/The Creator/ The universe, and that things always turn out okay. I’ve seen strangers and friends step up without me even asking and offer to help. I’m working on my character flaws; like pride, ego and control issues, and I’m learning to let go and accept help. And I’ve had to admit that I’m strong, resourceful, and pretty damn good at traveling on a budget, and by the end of this six-week trip, I’m going to have a few kick-ass blog posts for you, so stay tuned!

*UPDATE: My card was found in a bank atm machine, so everything turned out okay, but since I’ve returned home from my trip I now have several credit cards and I’m opening a second bank account with Charles Schwab. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how you can avoid this and other mistakes I have made while traveling!

Have you ever lost your money or ATM bank card while traveling? How did you handle it? Please share your comments and tips!

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