It’s not about the stuff…

Alright, guys, I need to let it out today. I just need to.

Last week, my car was broken into for the 6th effing time since I’ve been living in San Francisco. My personal space was violated, yet again.


What is it about my older, not so shiny car here that makes it such a target?

I’m a bit shaken up over it. It seems really petty to even write about it this way when there’s so much worse shit going on these days. No one got hurt. Nothing taken was valuable, some of it quite sentimental, but mostly old worn and torn stuff that was destined for Goodwill sooner than later anyway. So why the fuss?

Well, it’s not about the stuff…

Sure, my favorite hat is gone (which traveled with me throughout South America), and so is my super useful trail chair. They even took my musty old picnic blanket. Along with my 12 year old tent that has seen many a backcountry trail and has kept me sheltered in more than 15 National Parks. The “newest” items stolen were my trekking poles bought a few months ago, only used on 3 trips, but only cost me $30. Nothing taken was worth more than $50.


One of the last pictures of my beloved REI Half Dome, bought in 2002. We had a great run together!


This hat survived South America, but not San Francisco! (pic taken in Torres del Paine, Chile, 2011)

They actually saved me a trip to Goodwill by cleaning out some of those items! Okay, small silver lining. What I’m hoping is that some homeless guy out on the cold foggy San Francisco streets is now a bit warmer thanks to my musty old blanket. That’s the vision I’ll keep in my head anyway.

But what has me a bit freaked out about this ordeal is that I didn’t leave anything visibly showing in my car. After 6 years of city life, I know better.

The most that anyone could see from the outside was a half empty container of motor oil in the backseat, my clip-on sunglasses (I mean really, who wears clip-on’s besides me?!), and my sweat-stained hat in the front. Along with an empty eye drop bottle right below the cup holder. All stolen. My car was stripped clean. The glove compartment (with my car registration paperwork), the front compartments, the backseat area, and the trunk. Everything gone. Oh wait, that’s right, the jerks did leave me with my Nalgene water bottle of all things, a half canister of stove fuel, and one cough drop.

Which all leads me to believe that someone had been “working” the area, watching me the day before, opening my trunk, taking out my valuable items (laptop, work bag) and then closing the trunk, not giving the other items much thought. Someone knew I had a ton of crap in my car. They didn’t guess this, right?

Now I’m a bit more fearful than I was before, my car was parked around the corner from where I live, in what is the relatively “safe” neighborhood of Bernal Heights. Did someone watch me today as I went to and from my house and car?

I’ve always been slightly paranoid about this kind of stuff, now even more so. Have I been watching too much TV or does this kind of spying/breaking in shit get real? For now, I keep looking over my shoulder, and double and triple checking that I’ve locked my car, my house, my work office. Not that having the car locked means anything, they smashed the window. Jerks.

The even bigger picture here is that my personal space has now been violated 6 times while living in the City. And I’m fucking done with it. Absolutely done with city life. It’s not just the break-in, it’s nearly everything these days. The traffic congestion, the looking for parking, the sirens, the people density, the homeless urinating right in front of me, the tech buses, the getting stuck behind the transit buses, the $7 smoothies, my small living space with loud upstairs neighbors… every city annoyance has my blood boiling in seconds.

I’ve mentioned this before; it’s no secret that I want to move out of the City and into the woods. For a while there, I was waiting for the ideal non-SF job to align, but now that I’m getting the bookkeeping experience that I was hoping for at my current job, I’m sticking around to take full advantage of this opportunity.

I am now the “Accounts Administrator” and spend a good chunk of my work day on Quickbooks, entering in nearly every financial transaction that my company makes. I’m loving it. This is the right move for me and I’m feeling that forward momentum towards eventually making a location-independent income work out. I want that ability to work from anywhere in the world (which does not mean jumping into consistent travel, just means I’d have more options at my disposal). Remote bookkeeping, that exists, right?

Now I have to ask myself whether a commute into the City would be worth it in the meantime? That’s a tough question to answer…

But to end on a positive note: the other silver lining to the break-in: a perfectly valid reason to buy myself a new and lighter weight tent!

My new Kelty Grand Mesa 2 tent arrived today and I’m super excited to try it out! Two week countdown til its first use in the John Muir Wilderness!

San Francisco is a beautiful and fascinating city, but I’m really just a small town mountain girl at heart.


  1. Hey hon, yep, this blows. But on the flip side I am so heartened to hear that your prospects are looking up. Remember when we were on the beach in Akumal and you told me your plans for book keeping? You are doing it!!! I am so proud of you and happy for you. I know you are moving in the direction of your dream life, far from the rat race. Sorry about your stuff, try not to let the fear get to you beyond being safe. It was a petty theft at the end of the day, some people will steal/sell anything for money, maybe to fund a drug habit or something, who knows, but weren’t out to hurt you, thank god. Hang in there homie and enjoy your new tent!

    1. Thanks Sarah! Yes, I remember Akumal and you’re right, it’s happening! It’s a tough time now with an overwhelming workload and barely tolerating City life, but in the bigger picture, I’m moving in the right direction and the rewards are gonna be even sweeter after pushing through these challenges. Can’t wait to use my new tent (best part of the break-in)! 10 more days!

  2. I completely understand how psychologically violating it is when someone robs you, as it’s something my husband and I experienced during our recent travels in Paris. We were pickpocketed on the Metro, and even though we lost about 120euro, it wasn’t the money that bothered me. Even our bank cards and credit cards we were able to relatively easily replace and wound up being just a hassle rather than anything really dire. What really bothered me was that someone had our driver’s licenses and I really felt creeped out knowing that someone could be trying to impersonate us and had all of this personal information. I know the likelihood is that they just tossed the wallet after they grabbed the cash, but I still felt really unsettled by the thoughts of what they COULD be doing. And to just know that someone had so little respect for us that they violated our space and our trust was really disheartening. We bounced back, because we really had no other choice, but I won’t pretend this didn’t cast a dark cloud over the rest of our time in Paris. I can’t imagine having it happen SIX times in a relatively short period of time!

    1. Gosh, having your wallet stolen while traveling seems like a nightmare! I’d be concerned about identity theft too. Yes, it’s the violation of personal space that is the crushing blow in these situations. That it keeps happening to me in the City is just another sign that I need to leave city life behind me! Glad you guys still made it out and about after the incident in Paris. And thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. Sam this sucks!

    I lived in Manchester in the UK and had my car beaten up by an disgruntled woman, who had mistaken mine for her ex boyfriends. I then had a hire car and they broken into that to steal an apple 2 days later. Very annoying, so I feel your frustrations.

    Yay to a new lightweight tent. Hope it had a good first trip.

    1. Wow, that’s quite a story too! An apple? Sadly they’ll go for anything these days… Yes, my tent did have an excellent first trip – will write about it soon!

  4. roamingtheworld · · Reply

    Great to hear Sam!
    Nice to see that the plans and ideas you had for yourself are being set in motion!
    Still at the same company?

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