Being Stabbed

Being Stabbed

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Often I’ll meet people and they’ll be surprised that I like to travel alone. I rattle off the numerous benefits to solo travel and eventually I’ll be asked whether anything bad has happened on my travels. I hesitate, because I worry that by telling this story I’m going to plant the seed of fear and a forest of excuses will flourish. The truth is being stabbed hasn’t stopped me from traveling alone, there’s actually probably a part of me that feels a little more confident because I’ve had something terrible happen and it all turned out okay in the end.

This story begins in outside a little town Kuta, in Lombok, Indonesia, but remember that  being stabbed really could’ve happened anywhere.

My friend suggested I must visit Mawi beach, so I rented a scooter and braved the rough roads for almost an hour. Along my journey I saw large lizards rush across the road and monkeys cheekily hang from branches. I slowed my bike a little so that I could high five local children as they enthusiastically shouted “hello!”. I remember pausing for a moment to take it all in, this is what I’d always wanted from Asia but never managed to find. Eventually I made my way to the beach, which was beautiful and very secluded. There were only a few other tourists around, a couple were surfing and some others were just lounging on the beach, drinking fresh coconuts.

On the way back to Kuta, I stopped often to take photos. While I was on my scooter, less than 10 minutes away from Mawi beach, two men on a scooter pulled up beside me. Originally I wasn’t afraid, only minutes before I’d had an entire family drive past smiling and waving as they drove past. These two men didn’t smile and moments later the passenger was trying to rip my backpack off my back, while I was still driving. My mind was muffled and somehow I decided that they were trying to steal my scooter, which I thought to be annoying, but not the end of the world as I had travel insurance. I slowed down, left the keys in and backed away from the scooter.

 The two men followed me and removed large coconut knives from their belts while I struggled to figure out what was going on. I’d always felt so safe in Asia, so for this to be happening right now seemed like a faraway dream. The passenger quickly moved behind me, slicing the straps of my bag when I suddenly felt the weight of my possessions fall away. Usually I’m sensible when I travel; often leaving my passport and cards in a safe, carrying only a small amount of cash and usually having backup cash hidden in my bags. This day, however, I’d arrived and was so excited I had left that morning with everything. I turned to see my bag in his hands, realising that I was on a very remote island all alone, I became very frightened. 

I felt so angry seeing my things in his hands and that’s when I punched him – one of the two guys holding a knife. I punched him in the chest.

I ripped my bag out of his hands, my camera fell to the ground in all the commotion and he cut me. There was blood everywhere and I was in such shock I couldn’t figure out whether it was just coming from the cut on my hand or whether there was another, bigger wound. I started screaming “tolong” which is help in Indonesia, while accidentally smearing blood all over myself checking that I wasn’t hurt worse somewhere else.

I couldn’t believed I had been stabbed.

Then they just left. My camera was on the ground still, closer to where he’d been standing. All I can really remember is blood being everywhere. I tried to pick up my camera, but my hand was too sore and I just ended smearing blood all over it. There was no way that I could ride my scooter back along the dangerous and broken roads, so I started screaming out “tolong” again, when three locals came by on a scooter. One came over to me and although he spoke no English we somehow managed to coordinate wrapping my towel around my stab wound, packing up my bag and him driving me back to the medical centre in Kuta.

It took me a while to feel myself again, I spent a week in Ubud enjoying raw cacao, delicious food and taking things slow.  A day or two after the attack I decided this could have happened anywhere, even in my home town. I’m not angry with my attackers, I know that many locals earn as little as $40USD a month and so stealing a camera you could sell for a decent profit could be life changing. I have no idea what I’d do if I was battling poverty and had a family to support. I don’t respect their actions, but I can understand the motivation.

Would I travel alone back to Kuta, Lombok? Honestly, probably not as I didn’t really love it and it will stir up bad memories for me. But I still travel alone, I’m just sure to be a little more careful. I’m not worried about being stabbed again.


  • Erik says:

    Wow! That is a pretty harrowing story.

    I agree that it was probably pretty random. I have been to Amsterdam many times. On my 4th visit, I was staying in one night at the hostel while my travel companion decided to go out for some entertainment in the Red Light District with a couple of Aussies we had met at the hostel. When 2AM rolled around and he wasn’t back, I got concerned and went and looked for him at the couple of establishments they were supposed to be going to. When I did find him, he was pretty out of it. I began to escort him back to the hotel slowly. Near one of the bridges, I noticed a guy following us a little too closely, and when I turned around, he pulled a knife on us. I was too stunned to even move. I has no valuables on me. My friend, intoxicated times 2, saw me turn around, and when he did, he stumbled into the guy with the knife. That scared hom off, and I continued trying to get my friend back to the hotel. We didn’t lose anything, and no one was harmed.

    I look back and consider myself lucky, as I am sure you do too. I tell people that story, always stressing that it is a ‘random’ occurrence.

    • Izy Berry says:

      Wow, that sounds pretty intense. Good on you for looking for your friend. Sounds pretty shady, but I’m glad nothing bad came of it. At the end of the day, the way I see it is that there’s crap people everywhere. Whether in Indonesia, the Netherlands or wonderful New Zealand. I would never use this story as an excuse not to go back to Indonesia or to travel alone, it’s just a lesson. I guess part of the reason it was so shocking, is I had, up until that point, found beyond comfortable there. It’s good to have a little reminder to keep myself in check.

  • Edna says:

    What a terrible thing to happen, but you’ve handled it with admirable grace and understanding. Also a good lesson that wherever we travel, we should know how to say Help in the local language!

    • Izy Berry says:

      It’s actually funny because I never usually learn how to speak much in the local language. But when I was in Mataram I was hanging out with some young Indonesian guys and they took it upon themselves to teach me how to say various important words, including help. Funny how sometimes life gives you exactly what you need, before you realise.

  • Lenka says:

    That’s terrible and you are so brave to take it this well. But yes, you are right, it could have happened everywhere, I think it’s important to remember that.

    • Izy Berry says:

      Thanks! A lot of my friends and family are surprised I still travel, but it seems silly to let life get in the way of… life.

  • Andrea says:

    When my family and friends worry about my safety while traveling, I always try to stress the fact that bad things happen everywhere, and you’re not safe from the randomness of life anywhere. Since I’m in Korea I get a lot of comments asking if I’m afraid of attacks from North Korea. I have to remind people huge terrorist attacks have taken place in “safe” places like London, Rome and of course, in my own country (U.S.). You can’t live your life in fear, it’s not practical. Good job on remaining positive and continuing your travels despite a bad situation :)

    • Izy Berry says:

      Wow, I hadn’t even considered the possibility of attacks from North Korea when I was planning to move to South Korea…. I guess it’s worth being aware of, but there’s hardly any point to worrying. I guess a part of my “blaze” attitude to safety overseas stems from the fact that while overseas there was an awful earthquake in my home town and I actually lost two people I knew (one was family and I was very close to her)… just made me realise this kinda stuff happens anywhere – it’s just life. Can’t let life get in the way of… life!

  • Nomadic Matt says:

    Wow! That is one crazy story. Glad it wasn’t much worse.

    • Izy Berry says:

      I feel I came out pretty lucky. Have you had anything like that happen to you? I guess being a male is a bit different, you’re a little less vulnerable.

  • Adam says:

    Wow! You’ve definitely got a positive attitude. Not sure how I would’ve reacted but good on you for making the most of it.

  • […] in Cambodia, walking through the cobblestone streets of Prague, Coachella Festival in America and being stabbed in Indonesia. I feel like I’ve packed a lot of life into the past two […]

  • Wowsers. I’ve been interested to hear how this went down since I started reading your blog.

    Gosh it was fortunate that “help” was one of the few words you learnt in Bahasa.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for keeping on travelling. :)

    • Izy Berry says:

      I love Bahasa as a language, it’s so easy to pick up. I’m very lucky to have learned it, although I doubt I would have waited long for help, as Indonesians for the most part are very considerate and caring. Thanks for reading :-) there’s very few things that could keep me from traveling.

  • […] organised my flights home to be with my family, saving me around $2,000. On my second adventure I was stabbed and my travel insurance reimbursed me for my medical costs (stitches – ouch), the damage done […]

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  • […] overexposed background. It shows how tranquil and relaxing Ubud, Bali, really is. After I was stabbed in Lombok, almost one year ago, I decided to spend a few days in Ubud relaxing and recovering from the shock […]

  • […] cold or hot, it aches and stings and I can no longer open jars! If you want, you can read all about how I was attacked in Indonesia. This is going to sound weird: but in a way I’m almost glad it happened. Because I went […]

  • You’re very brave! Really good to see you getting straight back on the horse and still traveling alone. Obviously you Kiwi’s are made of tough stuff!

    • Izy Berry says:

      Haha maybe it’s the geographical isolation that makes use strong? Who knows! I just think realistically this could have happened anywhere in the world, so there’s little point getting hung up on it. It’s been a year since this happened and minus my camera being stolen, I’ve got nothing to complain about – so I’m a lucky girl. Thanks for dropping by x

  • Paulie says:

    Wow it must have been a life changing wxpierence. Well my story is a little bit more violent. On oct.28 i was ambushed in my vehicle by 6 guys and they broke all my windows. As they destroyed my car one of them opened the driver side and started to stab me numerous times. I was able to throw him off me in time before he stabbed me more turned on my vehicle and sped off as i sped off he reached into the car and stabbed my friend as well. I sped off to the hospital i passed a couple red lights but remained calm. As for my friend he was yelling but all is well and we survived a cowardly move.

  • […] I was certain I wanted to do on Lombok island and that was to climb Rinjani volcano. Unfortunately I was stabbed and found myself rushing back to Ubud, Bali, to relax and […]

  • […] is a kiwi girl from The Wrong Way Home travel blog. During her 2.5 years on the road she’s been stabbed, visited over 30 countries, taught in the Czech Republic and Cambodia and fell in love with the […]

  • Chris says:

    WOW thats a pretty heavy story!
    Good on you for punching the dude though and massive respect for sharing the story and how it hasn’t stopped you from travelling alone!

  • That is a crazy story..

    Fair play to you for punching him!!

    Respect for this not stopping your travels.. Sh*t happens and its how you deal with it that matters :)

    • Izy Berry says:

      Haha, well you know how safe NZ is and I reckon this could have happened here :) So… what’s the point in letting it stop me!

  • Kim says:

    Wow, that is a crazy story. I’m glad that it hasn’t stopped you from traveling solo.

  • Wow, what a scary incident! Glad you’re okay, and like Adam said above, I totally respect that you didn’t stop your travels.

    Stuff like this could happen anywhere, but when it happens in a foreign country a lot of people find it much easier to jump to the conclusion that it’s a problem with the place as a whole, not an individual.

  • […] for 3 years, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad happen while on the road. For one, I was stabbed in the hand while traveling throughout Indonesia, but in contrast I’ve had hundreds of amazing days on […]

  • […] I like to consider myself a pretty savvy traveller. I’ve been globetrotting, flashpacking or living abroad for the past 10 years. Luckily, I’ve never had any major travel disasters…. knock wood! I always take out travel insurance before any trip so know I’ve got myself well covered but thankfully I’ve never had to use it. I’ve heard some serious travel disaster stories from fellow travellers involving iPhones being pilfered in Paris, dodgy travel agents selling fake airline tickets in Bangkok or buying a suit and ending up with $10,000 of flights to the US on a credit card. The absolute worst story I’ve heard though would have to be my friend Izy from The Wrong Way Home who got slashed with a machete and robbed in Indonesia. […]