My wife and I took a European cruise in the early summer of 2018. I was serving an overseas military tour in Germany and had saved up some money to have my wife and I go on the cruise. The cost of the cruise was not great, but the experience of travelling across the Mediterranean Sea and seeing more of Europe was exciting.
The cruise departed from Spain and landed in Italy, and France, and back to Italy. We landed in Civitavecchia and had like 6 hours to get to Rome and back. However, this was not as easy as we thought.
The distance from the port to Rome was not doable unless you got a rental car. I had been stationed in Europe and was happy to drive around. I had driven to lots of places in Europe including Italy. Despite the fact I had been driving in Europe for over a year, I was unable to get the rental car because my driver’s license had no picture on it.
This imageless driver license was mine because I had lost my license and had to be mailed a replacement, this occurred some years back, I just never got a replacement and simply used it as a license to drive and never for identification.
So now we had limited time and my wife would be forced to drive us there. I was already feeling poorly because my wife was driving, I felt like I let her down and was feeling a bit like a loser because of it.
My wife took on the challenge, she was determined and in decent spirits. So, we got a car and got on the E80 and drove southeast to Rome.
The drive was 1 hour and a half away and we had less than five hours before getting back on the boat. She drove as fast she could without alerting the police.
I sulked the whole drive, I just felt like a failure (note to reader: I was much worse 2 years ago – I have improved since then.) We finally arrived and pulled into a makeshift parking field at Villa Borghese. We rushed to take a selfie because who can afford a photographer and I won’t be trusting my phone into the hands of a stranger.
We rushed to see some cool spots but were soon approached by a man selling bracelets. We stopped to entertain him and see what he wants. He gave us the bracelet and demanded money; we gave him some cash because what the heck why not.
We then moved on for about 10 minutes. I suddenly felt a sense of fear and decided to check my pockets. I couldn’t find my wallet, I panicked and ran back to the place where the man was.
I’ve decided that he must have taken my wallet and now I am screwed. Every fear of emptied bank accounts and stolen identity rush through my head. I run about looking for the man and what to do. Meanwhile, my wife, recognizing I am getting agitated and angry suggested maybe it is in the car – I decide that is a dumb idea and I wouldn’t have forgotten in the car and totally dismiss it.
I continued to panic and then frantically call my credit card company and discovered ways to get the cards cancelled and money to us. I at least managed to cancel cards and calming down a bit but could not coordinate for money delivery in time. Meanwhile, my wife was trying to keep her wits, she knew I could be a terrible ass in this type of situation.
Eventually, the situation cooled down, and we decided that we might as well use the 1 hour we have to see some sights. We cannot go into the Coliseum, we couldn’t buy anything, we just kind of moped around (at least I do).
The trip was ruined, I was a total jerk, I lost my wallet and we barely got to see anything.
Realizing we only had just enough time to get back we hurry to the car. We passed by the location where the thief took my wallet, I looked around one more time. Nothing. He was not there.
We finally arrived at the car and I opened the door and on the floor in between the door jamb and the seat was my wallet. It was there, exactly where my wife said it would be. She was right.
I felt even worse. I ruined the entire trip because I was just terrible. No other ways to cut it. I have since improved my way of being. I have changed a lot about my life since then. I always wanted to be a good husband, back then I wasn’t, I ruined the trip to Rome and other great trips.
I still owe her a return to Rome, after the pandemic is over and we can all travel safely we will go.
Manuel Villalba is the creator of SnapMob a new service whose goal is to make the service of great photography available on-demand to everyone, everywhere. Using location-based search, those looking to have a photo taken can find a photographer who is nearby and instantly connect with them for a quick session.
Snapmob’s creator, Manuel Villalba, tells the impetus for making the app was a problem he says revealed itself over the last several years of travelling.
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