My best pickpocket story is definitely unforgettable. It took place in one of my favorite cities, Madrid, in the afternoon as I stood outside a museum. Suddenly bird poop (or so it appeared) plopped all over my shoulder. And, just as suddenly, two well-dressed young girls appeared with tissues to help me clean up. Or, rather, they cleaned out my small backpack that I had on my back. Within seconds, as I was talking to one of them, the other managed to lift my passport, all my credit cards and money, my driver's license, my ATM card and even my hotel key. I later found out that this was an elaborate scam that employed someone with a high-powered water gun who shoots the faux poop on unsuspecting tourists -- though I thought I looked like a Madrileña and I even spoke Spanish.
If I had been wearing a pair of underwear or a t-shirt with hidden pockets, like those sold by Clever Travel Companion, at least I could've protected some of my valuables. This is one of the companies I recommend in my travel tips e-book, The Travel Authority: Essential Tips for Hassle-Free Travel. And, I'm happy to announce that the Clever Travel Companion is giving away any one of the many products they sell -- men's and women's underwear, t-shirts and tank tops -- to the one person who writes the best on-the-road lost item or pick-pocket story. To be eligible for the product of your choice, you must like the Clever Travel Companion on their Facebook page as well as submit your best story that involves either an item you lost while traveling or a situation where your pocket or purse was picked. You can either post your story here on this blog or email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org -- no more than 200 words, please. (If you decide to post here, please provide your contact email so that I can reach you should you win.) All stories must be submitted by 11:59pm on December 10, 2012. Your story must be true and, aside from mentioning your own name if you post here, there's no need to identify anyone else who may have been involved or who you felt was involved in the incident. In addition, you must be a U.S. resident to be eligible to receive the prize. Good luck everyone.