What a Stolen Wallet Means to Me

Hi friends,

So on Saturday I decided to go out with my friends in Hongdae. For the uninitiated, Hongdae is quite the initiation. It’s the trendy university area of Seoul and at night it gets grungy and messy and overrun with both Korean and foreignΒ night owls alike. Considering it takes me an hour to get there, I don’t tend to prioritise visits to Hongdae in my life (I much prefer putting my obsession with food, tasty drinks and internet bludging first). But when I do go, it’s a bit of an occasion. Let’s party, wooo, yeahhh (it goes a little something like that)!

But this time, my wallet got stolen. Ay carumba!

When I first realised my bag had been taken from the table we were literally dancing right next to, I sort of felt disbelief. It’s an odd thing to experience the worminess of a thief and it doesn’t quite feel real. However, at this point in my life, I’m trying to make it a priority to detach myself from my physical possessions, because you can’t take them with you when you die and all that. Considering I am in a foreign country, this already frustrating occasion is amplified by the fact that without your Alien Registration Card (yes, that’s its official name), there are certain things which may become more difficult. Like, oh I don’t know, proving your identity and visa status when you have to go to the airport the following weekend (Thailand!!! wheeee!).

Relaxing on da beach :)
Relaxing on da beach πŸ™‚

In all honesty, I didn’t really care about the crap that was taken. There is just something sickening and disturbing about someone feeling like they have a right to take what doesn’t belong to them, in any form. Like when people are greedy at buffets, it’s just so disgusting to me (lol), because I feel like we should just take what we need and not freak out over FREE FOOD (okay, I’m still learning on that one). But honestly, I just feel sorry for the person and if he/she (pretty sure it was a he – my bag was thankfully rediscovered in the men’s bathroom) really needed my 30,000won then he can have it. Also, my old pen-stained camera with photos of makeup products and children. But for some strange reason, he didn’t take my phone. I am eternally grateful that this happened to be a rather thick thief. I love my phone and it’s the most expensive thing I had in there, so I don’t understand this reasoning – but I’m not complaining!

So, right now I’m relying on getting money from my bank book, which I tried to use at the ATM yesterday and it didn’t work… about 10 times. I actually feel like how old people must feel when they use debit cards for the first time. ‘How does this thing work?! Do I put it in like this, or like this… why is it beeping at me?!’ were all thoughts running through my head as random Korean people came to withdraw cash. I was actually too embarrassed to ask for help, so I just gave up and left in a bit of a huff. I should add that Gav has lent me his credit card, but I’m actually quite enjoying having no money on me. I really don’t need it here (really), and combined with the fact that I have gone over my phone data limit and currently have no mobile internet on my phone (and it’s wifi connectivity is patchy – I’m glad I still have it but the poor thing needs a reset), I feel like I’m living in the past. Otherwise known as freedom. And I love it.

Gav was telling me Tim Ferriss calls our need for online connectivity AT ALL TIMES the “digital leash” and I completely agree with him. I don’t want this to be taken as complaining, because there’s so many good things that come from these amazing technological advances of humankind, such as the fact that you can read this right now. It’s incredible. But it does need to be managed, and that is where we slip into some murky areas. I always try not to check my phone at dinner, and I never leave it out on the table when I’m with friends. I actually am pretty “terrible” with my phone (much to my brother’s chagrin) and constantly miss calls and messages – because I’m so engrossed in the real world. Call me crazy, but I like life.

Just ridin' mah bike :)
Just ridin’ mah bike πŸ™‚

So I’ve started to go off on a bit of a tangent, but the main point of this post is that a stolen wallet really means nothing to me. I actually find it freeing and don’t really want to purchase a new one. Instead, I want to hunt in my cupboards and find a replacement from the millions of bags and holder-thingies that I have in my possession. I had an amazing time on my birthday, and was so spoilt, but the physical presents I received have just hit home to me the fact that I actually DON’T NEED ANYTHING. I have too much, and instead I want to spend my energy giving to other people. People who perhaps haven’t been as fortunate as me and who would really get a kick out of certain things that I now find mundane.

It’s an interesting way to feel, because I am in no way the richest person in the world. Far from it. However, I am lucky insofar as I am living in Korea and living a life that makes me feel like the 1%. I have too much money for my life here and can afford to buy anything I want. And it’s boring. Again, I don’t want to be seen as ungrateful because I feel lucky that I have the opportunity to feel this way. I would much rather be in this position than struggling and feeling despondent about life. I feel great – but I don’t need any more. In fact, I need less. It is then, ironically, that I know I will feel more fulfilled.

Money can’t buy us happiness, we’ve all heard before. Of course, everyone needs sufficient housing, clothing, food, etc. in order to life a comfortable life. But the amount of STUFF we consume is horrendous. Even just thinking about what was in my stolen wallet weighs me down. Nothing of too much important – receipts, coffee cards, a voucher from a student (which I wasn’t sure how to spend – and anyway, what would I buy?), a whole lotta coins and my pilates membership. All replaceable and, more importantly, all pretty inconsequential. I don’t have my wallet, or any of this stuff, and it’s fine. In fact, I think for the first time in my life I might forgo the temptation of coffee cards and perhaps other loyalty cards. I don’t want to be in the position where I actually gain some value from these jacked up “rewards point systems”. They are generally pretty terrible, and only give you theΒ feeling of value, when really, you need to put down aΒ lot of cash to get even a measly amount back.

I feel so light without this extra stuff, I’m actually sort of happy about it. Of course, I got upset on the evening it happened – because I thought I couldn’t go to Thailand and that my friends and Gav would be really upset. I also didn’t want them spending all my holiday money, ’cause I do need to pay for some things over there. Like accommodation and food. I haven’t broken the bonds entirely, but I’m trying. But the camera, the other stuff, I don’t care about. It’s a mean thing to do, but it’s something that someone sadder than me would do. So I can feel grateful for that.

All of this has been swirling around in my head for a while, well before my wallet was nicked. You will see in coming weeks more posts on organising, clearing out and minimalising. In fact, I have a ‘makeup cleanout’ post coming to you very soon, as well as an empties video. I’ve always found it hard to cut down on owningΒ things, but I think now more than ever I have the ability and the inclination to. And I’m really excited about it!

If you’ve made it this far in this epic post, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this topic and hopefully gained some insights (at least into my busyΒ mind). I’d love to hear your thoughts on minimalising – and any tips for organising and decluttering would be appreciated! I’m still learning, and I’m really excited about it πŸ™‚

Until next time,

Steph x

  1. I went through the declutter and non-attachment phase when I was very unhappy with the way my life was going. Now I think it’s okay to be moderately attached, as long as you can stop yourself from obsessing over getting a particular primer or mascara. For instance, I’m quite attached to my immersion blender I make green smoothies with daily.

    As for your wallet: keep your money in 2 different places when you go out (pockets+bag) and carry copies of identification with you, not the real thing. My wallet got stolen so many times I don’t have one anymore πŸ™‚

    1. That’s a good tip with the copies of identification! There were so many times where I separated all my ID and money and cards, and of course nothing would happen, so I just stopped doing it because I would always forget to put them back together lol >.< I like to think I can trust most people and this is just a one-off, so I'm going to try not to assume the worst! The good news is I got my government letter to let me go overseas and am currently enjoying my holiday in Thailand despite what that person took πŸ˜‰

      And yes there are definitely creature comforts I love and things I use on a daily basis, but I like knowing that they are replaceable and that money's just money at the end of the day. There's something really calming about it to me! I used to get really upset about these things but I just don't think it's worth it anymore (not that it ever was, I just did it anyway lol). I think you're right saying that you just need to stop before you get obsessed. For a while I was a bit like that and it is fun (to an extent), but there are consequences (and lots of STUFF) that comes with that kind of thinking! I'm still learning, as always πŸ˜‰ thanks for your comment!

  2. Lovely post! I’ve been on a shopping ban on makeup and skincare. I have a ridiculous amount. I mean, where did it all come from? It just grew and now I need to use it all. I would hate for things to go bad and then regret not trying it out. With that being said, I assign myself the items I need to use up and so far, I’m doing great! I have a cute bucket where I put them so I don’t forget. Basically, I shop in my own collection. Love it! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you! I feel exactly the same – how did this happen? I mean obviously it happened because I bought them (lol) but when you see it all in one place, it’s pretty tremendous. I am also on a shopping ban – and I’m quite enjoying it! I’m glad to hear your stash-shopping is going well, I am doing the exact same thing (I think we are in sync hehe) and it has made a big difference to my clutter situation already πŸ™‚ Keep it up! There is something so satisfying about using up products you own, isn’t there? I would put it up there with doughnuts and brunch… just sayin’ πŸ˜‰ thanks for your lovely comment!

    1. Thanks missy! I totally agree with you on the phone front, I find it so distracting and sort of stressful sometimes. I don’t think it’s meant to be like that! As an update, I am really enjoying having less “stuff” to carry round and am just using a Hello Kitty pouch to keep my cash in. Cute and functional! πŸ˜‰ xoxo

  3. I’ve lost a wallet before and the only really bad part about it was losing identity documents. That can be annoying. But way to have a positive take on it, haha! πŸ˜‰

    1. Oh I agree, that was exactly what I freaked out about, especially as I had my Thailand trip that weekend! Needless to say, I got to immigration – and to Thailand. Wheee! And I am really enjoying having (slightly) less stuff, let’s see if it sticks! πŸ˜‰

  4. So your alien registration card is gone? Were you able to replace it? I hope you can go to Thailand without troubles.
    I really liked your post and I often have the same feeling, that I just have so much STUFF everywhere that I really don’t need. I’m looking forward to your posts on organising, decluttering, and so on πŸ™‚

    1. Yes it is gone, but luckily I got the required form to leave the country. The man at immigration was actually really nice – I was nervous there would be a problem but I went straight through πŸ™‚ and thank you for your kind words! I feel the same, surrounded by stuff that is just cluttering my life. I have gone on a pretty hardcore spending ban and am trying to use up all my beautiful products and books and clothes and everything. I will definitely keep you posted (so to speak!) πŸ™‚

  5. Well it makes me happy to read how good you are taking the whole situation. It makes me feel like those things are less important (as they are!).
    I have huge troubles getting rid of things as well!
    I am a bit of a hoarder. But it happens that today I cleaned and got rid of some stuff and I feel great!
    Even though every time I do that I need some of the things I threw out within the same months. But well I feel lighter now πŸ™‚

    1. Oh that’s so good to hear! Yes I’m a hoarder too and I’m finding it incredibly satisfying having less stuff and I get really excited about finishing things (lol). This is a huge adjustment for me! Look forward to more empties videos soon πŸ˜‰ thanks for your lovely comments!

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