The Dangers of Instagram

Remember that one time that I said I wouldn’t recommend Brussels as the place to go in Europe? Let me iterate that story.

Once upon a time, I was working as a nanny for a family in Germany. The mother had a conference for work she needed to go to in Brussels, so we decided to take the two little boys and make a short vacation of it, just one overnight stay in Brussels. We drove to Brussels in the morning, checked into the hotel, and the mom took off to her conference, and I took off to the nearest Belgian waffle shop. As soon as the boys had their waffles, I settled my backpack in the stroller and started taking pictures of the boys being adorable:

Then I turned around to put my camera back in my backpack, and it was gone. Inside it was my wallet with all the usual life-sustaining cards inside it, as well as all the clothes and everything I’d brought for the trip. Thankfully I had the most important things left: my phone, my camera, my iPod, and the key to the hotel room. And also thankfully I’d packed the treats for the boys in the stroller instead of my backpack as I now had no money to buy food for them. In the end, it was one of the most stressful trips I’ve ever taken.

Flash forward to today. My friend and I went downtown to do fun things. #1 item on the agenda was to go to the new Starbucks in the central station (there isn’t one anywhere else in Stockholm besides the airport, so it’s kind of a big deal). But first we decided to get a very Swedish lunch.

After I bought my Swedish lunch, I put my wallet in my jacket pocket and hung my jacket over the back of my chair. I promptly took a picture of my Swedish lunch and posted it on Instagram:

(It’s called Smorgåstårta). Then we continued to enjoy this delightful meal.

Afterwards, we were too full to get dessert at Starbucks, so we decided to go ride the subways in Stockholm because they are a very interesting and famous art display. For more details, read this article.

As we approached the gate to enter the subway, I realized I didn’t have my train card. Because I didn’t have my wallet. We ran back to the restaurant where we ate lunch. Couldn’t find it. Talked to the cashiers/servers. Nothing. Asked the information desk in the train station. Lost and Found is closed on the weekends. At this point, we accepted we’d never see my classic-Star-Wars-characters-encrusted wallet again.

After making the appropriate calls, my friend bought me a new train pass and we went to the police station to file a report. At the police station, I realized I had already lost the new train pass my friend bought. This is when I decided to give up on being a responsible adult and accept that karma was storing up something for a long time for me.

The bright side:

I know where the police station in Stockholm is, just in case:

I still got to see one of the cool subway stations:

(This is a representation of the vegetable storage that used to be where the subway station now is. The orbs above me are cabbages. My cabbages.)

And we still went to Starbucks, which made life a lot happier:

The moral of the story is:

When you’re a tourist, don’t do things that are blatantly touristy unless you have a firm grip on all of your belongings. If you are taking pictures of your cultural food, you look like a tourist. And pickpockets know that you are easily distracted when you’re a tourist, and also that there’s a high chance you’re carrying cash. So stop it. Stop posting your food on Instagram.

P.S. I’m not really blaming Instagram for the loss of my wallet. I recognize my responsibility. I’m also still recommending Stockholm for touristing, because it really is a lovely city. Just don’t be stupid. 🙂


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