If anything, this is a story* of precaution. It may also be a story about perception of race, if you chose to see it that way, and in that way it may also be a story about representation, values and fortune in misfortune.

Young, optimistic and naive, they were a few hours into the journey, red faced and sweaty, but proud after finally having figured out how to navigate the big town. The Cathedral of Milan towered before them, only blocked by a gigantic beautiful fountain into which Chase decided to drop a golden coin and a wish for good measure.

It happened the moment they stepped into the Cathedral. “Hakuna Mattata”. A man offered them bracelets which the couple politely declined. The man seemed fine with that and raised his hand for a high five, asking where they were from. Always wishing to make friends and be kind to people, the boy returned the friendly gesture.

But the man wouldn’t let go of his hand. Instead he started showing him the bracelets against the boy’s wrist. They were symbolic. Good for love. Friendship. Etc. Another man swooped in and wanted to high five the girl. Things happened so fast. Before they knew it, the bracelets were bound tightly around the couple’s wrists. “Don’t worry, free.” More bracelets despite protests. Then they started asking for money. The couple kept saying they didn’t have any and didn’t want the bracelets. But they wouldn’t leave and they were getting fired up. “Only little, we have change”. In the end the girl gave them a €20 euro on behalf of both of them. Hoping they would give her the change as promised. No, they wanted more. They confused the boy, distracted the girl and the end of the story is that the scammers came off with €30 and the couple a bad experience richer. They felt violated. Unsafe. Jumpy around strangers. Angry with themselves.

For hours they walked with downcast heads, until they decided enough was enough. They were not in the wrong here. Until the incident, the couple had not noticed that the scammers were dark as coal. But the scammers had noticed their skin like honey. Blue eyed. Tourists with money. They were the ones who had taken advantage of someone who only sees good in people (and ruining that for future strangers too).

Settling on that, the couple walked to their airbnb, hand in hand, always a bit more sceptic to strangers, but strengthened by each other. So perhaps the scammers had been right; perhaps the bracelets really did protect love.

See more pictures on instagram: @christinaqvam

Chase and Ole are a couple who enjoy the occasional travel now and then, chasing moments and testing their – especially Chase’s – comfort zone. They also travel quite intensely and rarely find time to do the social media and writing Chase is supposed to do. To kill two flies in one go as they say in Norway (cause we don’t like killing birds with stones), Chase is testing out her new idea of writing the travel blog as travel fiction, based on reality.

Sidenote: this is only first drafting, no editing or grammar is checked before posting because of the lack of time. Spellings are therefore to be expected.

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