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Vacation Stashing
by

A few months ago, I found myself sitting on the edge of bed staring out the window of a cozy bungalow in Sayulita, Mexico. I'd just arrived earlier that evening and was finishing unpacking when I hit a wall, of sorts. I was surprisingly exhausted from a day of travel, and was having a difficult time figuring out what to do with the envelope of traveler's checks and cash in my hand. While most trusting or naive tourists would simply drop it in a nightstand drawer or slip it into the underwear drawer, I was apparently not one of those people.

I normally don't travel with cash, but Sayulita is such a small town that they do not accept credit cards. Opting to be prepared, I brought cash and traveler's checks. Having traveled to Mazatlan, Tijuana and Oahu in the past, I had a distinctly jaded view of locals. Rather than take my chances, I prefer to prepare for the possibility of theft. Visualization has worked well for me in the past.

I created a mental picture of a local kid sliding a credit card (stolen perhaps?) between my doors and entering my room while I was out at the beach. Where would he look first? Probably nightstand drawers, I figured. I ventured to guess he would hit a jackpot in half of the other bungalows, but he'd be snake eyes in the Lewis abode. Next stop? Dressers or closet with clothes. No dice? I could picture him trying the bathroom shelves and my toiletry bag.

After uttering a few choice expletives, the intruder would head back out to the living room and kitchenette to find hidden treasure. He wouldn't find anything under the cushions, in the cabinets or drawers. Perhaps there's time for a second look in the bedroom. The kid would look under the mattress and through my empty travel bags in vain. If he's in a good mood, he'll leave everything as-is so I can return from the beach without being worse for wear.

If he had half a brain, he would have used his 6-foot plus frame to step up onto the window sill and lift up the empty bird cage on a shelf above the window to reveal an envelope with my passport and cash. He could have also pulled out the nightstand drawer to reveal a second envelope with traveler's checks. My extra effort worked, and I'd outsmarted the local thief!

Of course that's not exactly how it turned out. The locals were friendly, the hotel staff was fantastic and I was too lazy to maintain my secret stashes for more than two days. I did manage to enjoy the sun, surf and food over the following week. Next time, I'll spend more time on the beach and less time in my room visualizing.