Why my first solo trip abroad turned into a nightmare
THIS time two weeks ago I woke up in the middle of the third-world street, my travel bag stolen, with it my phone, wallet and cash.
It was 4am, I was delirious, scared and at a loss what to do next.
I stumbled down the street hoping to wake up from the nightmare.
It was day three of an 11-day getaway to Cambodia, the first time I'd ventured overseas alone.
Before you ask, no it wasn't alcohol, I'd had a few but nothing crazy.
I remember the whole night - making friends, sharing stories, the fire alarm of the hostel going off and walking to the next bar - up to a certain point.
My friend was with me until we parted ways to go home.
I awake, beady-eyed on the dusty Phnom Penh address, my life at that point in shambles.
Physically, mozzie bites aside, I'm fine. Mentally it's another story.
Later I learned my drink had been spiked.
After cancelling my bank cards - thanks to a wonderful mother back home - I crashed.
On waking up the second time, I left the Airbnb assuming it was 10am.
Having no phone or a watch, I ordered breakfast.
Little did I know it was 6pm.
I'd been lights out for roughly 12 hours.
While I was laughing about my predicament at the time, inside, my head was doing somersaults.
Only now am I nearing a point where actual laughter helps.
Fortunately, prior to going out, I had the sense to leave my passport and majority of cash inside the Airbnb.
In my wallet was my licence (technically pointless), Medicare card (also pointless) and bankcards.
You'd think once I cancelled my cards the problems would stop. Wrong.
I was logged out of all social media, logged out of emails due to logging in from a foreign country.
In the end, security prevented me proving my identify.
It wanted confirmation through text - no phone. Confirmation through security questions - which didn't work. And finally, confirmation through emails I no longer use.
Now I am back home, I've regained my social media and logged back into emails.
My travel insurance will hopefully help me out and, in time, life will return to normal.
But thankfully, unlike the gang in the Hangover 2, I avoided a face tattoo, losing a tooth or sleeping with a ladyboy.
I would go back to Cambodia and anywhere in the world, but if you're going solo, be careful, don't put your drinks down.
Not even once.