The doors we leave open


The stillness of the night was broken by the familiar thud of a kitten dropping from the ceiling, a nightly occurrence since they grew brave enough to hurl themselves from the rafters after climbing in through a hole in the roof. I lay there agitated as Bear mewed incessantly, willing him to shut up, until I finally gave in and staggered out from beneath the mosquito net. Bear’s little white body shone through the dark, and I scooped him up and nuzzled into his soft fur before opening the backdoor and ushering him outside.

I woke again several hours later to sun streaming through the house and the clanging of metal plates as my landlady washed her dishes outside. Lee’s alarm clock beeped and I rolled over and pestered him to come for a morning moped drive with me on my newly rented bike.

Heading out the door I glanced back at the room, smiling at the sight of my tidy desk, looking forward to a day of productivity in my little home office as I continued with my new writing resolve.

We wound our way through the empty streets, the cool morning air whipping across our skin as my moped puttered along. My body buzzed with nervous energy; this was my first time behind the wheel in two months and I was feeling rusty, holding my breath as I wobbled around every corner. After a brief fifteen minute jaunt I shared Lee’s relief as I pulled up outside the house, and he headed off to work, still in one piece.

I walked back into the living room and made a beeline for the desk. My laptop was gone from its place on my new blue tablecloth; the power cable still running down to the socket where it was plugged in. Lee must have moved it before we left, I thought to myself, and began searching around the house. Or maybe he took it to work with him. I knew that was impossible though. You can’t exactly take a laptop canyoning in the jungle, and the laptop case still lay on the floor beside the desk.

My heart began to race. No, it couldn’t be… no way… how... I could see the backdoor was closed. Please let it be locked, please let it be locked, please let it be locked. I walked closer, a wave of panic rising inside me so fast I thought I was going to throw up. The bolt was pulled all the way back.


Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

My mind raced back and I remembered blearily opening the door to put Bear out during the night. I had forgotten to lock it behind me.

I rushed outside to see if anyone was around, and gazed across an empty bay. Unsure of what to do next, I locked up the house and jumped back on my bike to find Lee. Tears streamed down my face as I drove. Idiot. Idiot. IDIOT. I reached Lee just as he was preparing to head off to the jungle and he clasped his face in frustration as I blurted out the bad news.


We raced back to the house, my mind swarming as the reality of everything began to sink in. The memory card from our camera is still in the computer. We’ve lost all our photos. I haven’t backed up my work since October. We don’t have insurance. We can’t afford a new one. I’m totally screwed.

Lee ran inside while I rushed to tell my friends and neighbours, Jenny and Candace. I sobbed through my words as I told them what had happened and felt the energy draining out of my body as they wrapped their arms around me.

“Do you have ‘Find My Mac’ activated?” Candace asked. I did, and felt a small flutter of hope rising within me. She logged on to iCloud, but to our dismay we found the tracking system only works if the laptop is online, and my tiny flicker of light was snuffed out as quickly as it had been ignited.

I walked back into our house to find it full of friends offering their support, the police already on their way. Despite their positivity I felt a wave of hopelessness wash over me, and I sat on the porch playing everything back in my mind, kicking myself for being so stupid.

I remembered the quote I had posted on Facebook just the day before, and winced at the irony of the words. This was one door I wish I’d never opened.

The doors we open and close each day, decide the life we live.
– Flora Whittemore


{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa -The Mellyboo Project February 12, 2013 at 12:55

Oh my goodness Hannah, I’m so sorry! That’s honestly my worst nightmare. I hope you get some sort of miracle and it magically appears. Good luck xoxo
Melissa -The Mellyboo Project recently posted..An Insider’s Guide to Manhattan


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:19

It was my worst nightmare too! I still get caught off guard when I remember something else I only saved on the computer, now lost forever. Why didn’t I back anything up?! Argh!!!


Kim February 12, 2013 at 13:11

Ah, it still makes me mad to read about it! Even though you left your door unlocked it doesn’t exactly give anyone the right to steal your computer. I’m sorry honey. I hope the thief goes online real soon.
Kim recently posted..Beauty in the Breakdowns: We Survived the Rickshaw Run


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:21

Me too! I just checked iCloud again though and no luck. Oh, and now I can’t find my iPhone. I think the police may have swiped it when they came to the house… India must hate me.


Scarlett February 12, 2013 at 13:16

Urgh that is so awful about your laptop… although, whilst you automatically blame yourself for being daft enough to leave your place unlocked, it’s nobodies right to enter your home. Obviously they tried the door and, luckily for them it was unlocked, but had it not have been who’s to say they wouldn’t have just broken a window? xx
Scarlett recently posted..Pancake Tuesday… and Other British Celebrations


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:22

Thanks honey, you are totally right, and many people have had their doors broken down or windows smashed. There seems to be a real crime spree going on at the moment and so many people have had things taken.


Ian Ord - Where Sidewalks End February 12, 2013 at 13:39

Ah.. I’m so sorry. I’ve been reading about this on your fanpage, and hoping deep down your ‘Find My Mac’ light would blink on! This is terrible, and not for the laptop itself… but the pictures, and notes, and personal info found there-in. I’ve had similar things happen, and am still hoping for the best for you!! Don’t blame yourself, mistakes happen. It’s easy to lose hope in humanity in these times, but trust in fellow man is all we have, and you have to trust yourself first. For every (metaphorical) door we lock, and person we immediately judge, a door gets locked to us, and we shall be equally judged by someone in return. Keep up your good karma and all will be right in your world! 🙂
Ian Ord – Where Sidewalks End recently posted..Photo Essay: Thaipusam’s first day of events. Get this party started!


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:25

Thanks Ian, I keep hoping it will too! I just checked it though and it’s still offline, damn them! It won’t change the way I view people or the world, but it will definitely make me check the doors are locked before I leave the house!


Elisa Choi February 12, 2013 at 14:12

i really pray that your laptop will be returned to you. Hugssssss!
Elisa Choi recently posted..12: Hollyhocks


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:26

Thank you so much Elisa 🙂


Jonathan Welford February 12, 2013 at 15:09

So sorry to hear about your laptop, having something stolen is always horrible and the feelings of being violated take some time to wash away.

May I ask why you have no insurance? Did you take out any insurance for your travels?
Jonathan Welford recently posted..Nip & Tipple Review


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:29

Thank you Jonathan. Our travel insurance doesn’t cover our laptop (we couldn’t afford to stretch to that) but we may be able to claim back half of the value through my mum’s home insurance. She is looking into it for us, so fingers crossed! You can bet my next laptop will be fully insured though!


Jonathan Welford February 14, 2013 at 05:28

Good to hear 🙂


Carmel February 12, 2013 at 15:15

I really hate those moments. The one right after the discovery where we realize, we’re the idiots who made it happen. And of course, we’re hardest on ourselves and wish there was some way to take back what we did wrong, promising we’ll never be so foolish again. So aggravating. I’m sorry! I really hope by some miracle, you’re able to get it back. 🙁


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:31

Thanks Carmel. I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons through this, so at least I can take something positive from it all. Sitting here in the world’s crappiest internet cafe is not one of them though 😉


jenjenk February 12, 2013 at 15:44

Oh, boo!! i’m so sorry to hear that! 🙁 What a heartbreaking feeling!!!!

i hope karma visits that thief in a strong way!!!!!
jenjenk recently posted..Turkish Street Candy: Turkish Taffy


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:32

Thanks Jen, me too!


Dave February 12, 2013 at 16:15

this thief has pissed me off now !!! So sorry this happened to y’all. They say many criminals return to the scene of the crime…compulsive behavior I guess. Keep a close watch …Take heart though, I could have been worse !!! Shakespeare once wrote……
” Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
‘Twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:41

Thanks Dave, I really appreciate your support and love the quote 🙂


Hogga February 12, 2013 at 16:28

ahaha kittens falling from the ceiling… love it!
Hogga recently posted..Folk on the Rocks, Yellowknife: Music Festival


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:34

They are very cute, but not at 3am!


budget jan February 13, 2013 at 00:15

I am hoping a miracle will occur and it will find it’s way back to you. Do you think your landlord might be able to call in some favours?
budget jan recently posted..Tuesday in Townsville – Hello Lunar Year of the Snake


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:35

Thanks Jan, I’m hoping for a miracle too! Our landlord is actually a major suspect though, so we are on our own with this one.


budget jan February 16, 2013 at 11:02

Oh, that is a shame. At least you had a good 5 months.
budget jan recently posted..Fantastic Friday – 15 Reasons to Love a Camel


Hannah February 17, 2013 at 04:11

Yes, it’s been a wonderful five months, and the memories we’ve made can never be stolen 🙂


Jeremy or IHeartTravel February 13, 2013 at 01:06

You know in times like these one would really like to believe, maybe, just maybe things happen for a reason. However things like this just happen. We don’t like that they happen but we learn a lesson from it.

It’s a shame someone stole your laptop and it sucks!

Sending you some positive vibes and hopes that you get an even better laptop in the future : )
Jeremy or IHeartTravel recently posted..Staring at the stars 


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:40

Thank you Jeremy. I think it did happen for a reason though, and I’m really trying to listen to that. I have sloppy working habits and don’t backup, we scrimped on our travel insurance, and I have a tendency to leave doors unlocked… There are a lot of lessons to take from this!


Patricia GW February 13, 2013 at 02:24

Oh Hannah, you’re in my thoughts and I’m praying for your laptop’s safe return. Once the laptop is online, is there a way to trace it to its current location so you can retrieve it?
Patricia GW recently posted..Two Memorable Meals (and One Detour)


Hannah February 13, 2013 at 08:37

Thank you so much Tricia. If they go online it can be tracked via the IP address to a certain range, but not an exact location. Hopefully it will give us a strong enough idea though. The problem really is that the police are so corrupt here in India that even if we can track it, we are not very likely to receive any help from them, and in many cases they are actually involved in the thefts.


Patricia GW February 14, 2013 at 16:14

That’s tough; police are supposed to be there to protect and serve the people rather than take advantage of them. I really hope it turns up soon so it can be tracked. Be careful if you go after the thief xx
Patricia GW recently posted..Two Memorable Meals (and One Detour)


Hannah February 15, 2013 at 08:04

Thank you, I’m keeping everything crossed!


Maddie February 13, 2013 at 14:25

Absolute worst nightmare! Really feeling for you Hannah and keeping fingers and toes crossed that you can find it. I remember reading this a while back and thinking how great it was that they kicked butt and got it back, maybe you will too 🙂
Maddie recently posted..6 tips on making your money work for you


Hannah February 14, 2013 at 06:46

Thanks Maddie. I read that post too (sadly AFTER the laptop was stolen!) and will definitely be installing ‘Prey’ when we get our replacement!


Savvy Scot February 13, 2013 at 18:17

I know the gut-wrenching feeling that you get when you realise something has been stolen! 🙁 – I am so sorry. I hope that they turn it on and that you can track them down. Surely it is only a matter of time… the person who has nicked it will eventually go online and sooner or later you will get an accurate position. I am sure there is also a way to activate the webcam in the macbook too (for evidence) remotely. Give it time and justice will be served
Savvy Scot recently posted..Top Money Saving Tips for Appliances


Hannah February 14, 2013 at 06:55

I keep checking iCloud several times a day, but no luck yet. We have a feeling the people who stole it know us, and know when we are leaving, so will most likely wait until then before going online. What they DON’T know is that I am perfectly willing to come right on back!


Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) February 14, 2013 at 05:31

I still hate so much that this happened to you, especially after how good India has been to you. I do agree, however, that although it’s easy to blame yourself in this instance, there’s nothing to say that even if you had locked that back door the thief wouldn’t have found his/her way into your home some (potentially more destructive) way.

I really hope you get your laptop back, but for me, the biggest loss that really caused my heart to stop was reading that your memory card with all your recent photos were in it when it was swiped. A laptop can be replaced, but those photos? Not so much. At least you still have the experiences behind them, but I can imagine all too easily how gutted you must feel about all of this.
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Escape to Shanghai!


Hannah February 14, 2013 at 15:04

Thanks Steph, I really appreciate your lovely comment. The photos are definitely the hardest thing to lose, but I have promised myself a return trip next year to make up for it 🙂


Angela February 14, 2013 at 13:58

Noooo, I feel so bad for you. I hope you’ll find your precious macbook!
I can’t even imagine begin how you must feel. Someone stole 50 dollar from our room the other day and I was balling my eyes out, I felt so betrayed, and maybe I over dramatized the whole thing because of PMS. But still, I feel for you.
Angela recently posted..Is Gorky park the best park in the world?


Hannah February 14, 2013 at 14:46

Thank you so much Angela! It really does suck, but I’m trying to stay positive and learn a very big lesson 🙂


Jenny February 15, 2013 at 14:33

Such a nice door and such a sweet kitten and such bad people. I know you’re keeping at your writing despite this massive setback, and I believe that will help things turn right again. A new machine will come your way, as will many extraordinary adventures that will help you put this all behind you. Love you loads sweetie pie.
Jenny recently posted..Frog with a Broken Heart


Hannah February 15, 2013 at 14:58

Thank you so much honey, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all your help and support. And the delightful writing corner! Love you too xxx


Ken February 15, 2013 at 16:14

Been there, done that (including the pictures) and it feels like someone has ripped your soul out. But, several years have passed and life is wonderful. Hang in there…this too shall pass.


Hannah February 16, 2013 at 07:29

Thanks Ken, sorry to hear you have been through this too. It has definitely been a painful experience for me, but in a strange way I am also grateful for it. I have learnt a lot of lessons, and am developing new working habits that I am really enjoying. So glad to hear all is wonderful for you 🙂


rita February 15, 2013 at 18:46

Try to set up a cam somewhere hidden in the house if you can.


Hannah February 16, 2013 at 07:31

Yeah, I thought of that too… it would be awesome to play detective!


Dave February 15, 2013 at 18:47

Hi, sorry to hear that! I really hope that you find your laptop and people who did this are punished for what they have done to you…good luck Hannah!
Dave recently posted..Roman Holiday


Hannah February 16, 2013 at 07:31

Thank you Dave, I hope so too 🙂


Susan @ Travel Junkette February 17, 2013 at 16:16

Oh no, Hannah! I’m so sorry. Not worried, though, because you’re such a strong chica — and I know this will eventually just be a little bump in your long and shiny path!
Susan @ Travel Junkette recently posted..Travel Links of the Week – 2/15/13


Hannah February 18, 2013 at 05:45

Ah, thank you so much Susan 🙂


TammyOnTheMove February 19, 2013 at 07:28

I am so sorry to hear that Hannah! I hope that your tracking device will help you locate it. I know that the blogger Expert Vagabond got his laptop back that way.
TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Flashback Friday: That time I was attacked by vampire bats


Hannah February 19, 2013 at 07:48

Thanks Tammy! We are hoping they will go online soon and activate the tracking. Fingers crossed!!!


Yuva February 19, 2013 at 22:44

hi Hannah. Came across your blog today and started reading them. Really sorry for what happened to your Macbook. I am happy to see someone explore my country and find the real life that is hidden from the eyes.


Hannah February 20, 2013 at 15:17

Hi Yuva, thank you for reading, I’m so glad you found me! I am crazy in love with India, and my five months living here have been incredible. I have learnt so much, and can’t wait to come back next year 🙂


Anwar September 23, 2013 at 04:14

Wow I’m really sorry to read your laptop was stolen (although i’m reading this months later). This is one of the best written laptop stolen stories I’ve read though strangely enough.
Anwar recently posted..Friday Photo: Wanderings at the Monastery


Hannah September 25, 2013 at 09:56

Thank you Anwar! I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂


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