On Monday I talked about being burglarized, and in talking to other people about this and about their own experiences and habits, I realized we need to share some tips and suggestions. Please feel free to comment and offer your own suggestions; these are the ones I’ve gleaned just recently: I’ve never really given much thought to this kind of safety before because, until now, it had never happened to me. When we wrote Destination Creativity, about traveling to art retreats, it wasn’t even something that came up. We had uneventful travels (well, if you don’t count finding stray hairs in the hotel rooms) and didn’t even think about adding a chapter on being safe on the road.
Now, though, I’m thinking of all the artists who travel, hauling their work and tools and supplies with them. My friend Kim told about a jewelry artist she knows who works in precious metal and had everything stolen from their vehicle in the few minutes it took to pop into a cafe for food: someone had seen them loading the car and had followed them. That’s something I’ve never thought about, so let’s start there:
~~When you’re loading up to head out on the road, try to do it in your garage or carport. We have always backed into the carport and loaded from the back door so it’s not so obvious to anyone who might be watching. Think about that and about how you can hide the fact that you’re 1) putting valuable stuff in your car and 2) getting ready to leave your house. When you’re loading back up after an event, think about how to do it as invisibly as possible (short of doing it at night, in the dark, which is a whole ‘nother safety issue). Park as close to the loading area as possible and try to keep valuables out of sight or maybe disguised as a bunch of worn-out, rusty junk. (There’s something to be said for ratty, cheap-looking luggage, sturdy enough to do the job but ugly enough to look like it holds nothing but dirty laundry.)
~~You might want to think about shipping as much of your stuff as possible, insuring your packages. It’s a hassle and seems excessive if you’re driving, but sending your stuff ahead and having it stored onsite, in a secure room, may be the safest choice.
~~If the venue has the option of holding your stuff for you in a secure location–an empty meeting room, perhaps–check into that and find out if it’s kept locked and how much space you can have. Unloading your vehicle and putting your valuables in your room is one option, but if you’ve got a lot of stuff, the hotel might well provide somewhere secure for you to stow it. It’s to their benefit to help you keep your stuff safe, so check with the manager ahead of time about how that might be accomplished.
OK–more tips on Friday. And please comment with anything I haven’t thought of yet!
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