to the person who took our luggage

lug copy

Hi there, we’re not sure who you are, but we’re pretty sure you know us. You probably know us really well actually, as you recently stole all of our luggage while we were on holiday.

Every. Single. Thing.

Well, that’s not fair, you did leave us with one salt and pepper shaker that was a gift, my 5 year old sons sandals and a 2014 Italian priests calendar. Those priests were pretty good looking, we’re baffled that you would pass them up.

Anyway, we hope you’re well. Really, we do. We hope that our loss has provided you with your essentials for a while, food, shelter, warmth, security. Although I’ve never been in your position before, where I rely on stealing from others to make ends meet, I imagine it is not an easy life.

I imagine you probably live in fear a lot of the time, fear of the culture you find yourself in, fear of the government, police, other people stealing from you. You must also look out at tourists like us with a great degree of resentment. Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is filled to the brim of snap happy, money dropping, grinning ear to ear vacationers. To you, we must appear as the 1%, rolling in wealth and decadence.

Although you might not believe it, this is really not the case with us. We are a small family from Australia. Myself, fiance, and our five year old son. For the past 6 years we have been saving money for our vacation.
Working full time, doing extra jobs on the weekend. Making money where we can from our arts practices. What you took from us that day, were pretty much all of our possessions.

And then we traveled.

We traveled to learn, to take part in arts workshops, to visit galleries, to exhibit paintings.
In Florence, my fiance was taught the techniques of the old masters and created a reproduction of The Decameron (which you now have in your posession). She spent a month in Oaxaca, learning traditional wood carving and sculpting techniques (all of which you now have). I went to Minneapolis to exhibit my paintings and run a comics making workshop (which you now have all the results of).

We wonder if you were disappointed when you opened the bags. You were probably hoping to find a lot of electronics. Designer clothes, bags, shoes. Lots of brand names that would be easy to sell on.

You would have found nothing like that. There were sketchbooks that my son filled while we sat on a balcony in Florence. There was a sculpture of a dog that my fiance spent a month carving in Oaxaca. There was a pomegranate perfume from the oldest pharmacy in the world.

We imagine these are all in the bin now. We don’t know how you could make money out of our memories. It’s hard enough for us to do that.

We have compiled a list of all the things of ours that you now have, but each day that passes reveals more and more. Today we had to trim our sons finger nails and realised that you took his nail clipper. We can’t imagine that it would fetch much on the after market. To us though, it was the clipper that we have used with him since he was first born. It is embedded with memories and emotions. My son cried when he realised you had taken it from him.

We told him the clipper liked San Francisco so much that he decided to stay there. We lied.

We keep telling ourselves lies like that as well.
Lies like “We didn’t really own any of those things anyway.”
“We didn’t deserve to have such nice things.”
“It wasn’t meant to be.”
“They are just objects.”
“We’re not that material, so we don’t mind.”

We keep lying to ourselves to keep from hurting too much.

You might have thought that because we were on holiday, it was a victimless crime. That our insurance would cover it all. Well, because of the way you took the things from us, there’s a chance our insurance won’t cover it. We all know how vigilant insurance companies are in finding ways not to pay out.

It’s not just our travel purchases either, it’s actually my sons entire wardrobe that you took. As well as the vast majority of my clothing as well. Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t have that many possessions, so we took everything that we would need with us.

You also have all our dirty laundry. We’re not sure where that’s going to end up. Will you take it to the laundromat before taking it to a vintage store? Will you even realise they are dirty? Perhaps not.

You took the jacket I was going to wear at my wedding, the one I picked up at a vintage store in Italy, as well as the shoes and belt my fiancé purchased at the same place, the ones she was going to wear. You took the mariachi suits that were made to measure for my son and nephew. They were going to wear them as ring bearers.

There are lots of other things we purchased for our wedding in there. Nothing super expensive, you probably wouldn’t even recognise them, but they’re all in there. They were waiting for their moment. They were filled with such promise.

All of our art supplies are with you too, I don’t know if you paint, or draw, but I hope you find them useful. There are hundreds of dollars worth of watercolours and oils. brushes and pens. More than that though, they are tools that we have discovered and chosen over years and years. Paints hand picked from small producers in Italy, Japan, the USA. Bone ash and bees wax, an alchemists tool set. Things that were perfect, just for us.

I guess that’s what hurts the most. Yes, these are just things. but they were things we had chosen. Not because we were told to choose them, but because we loved them, because they were meaningful for us. Things that we were furnishing our nest with, building our future with, making our lives more beautiful with.

We wonder about how you took so much luggage from us in one go. I hauled it in and out of enough hotels to know how hard that is. Your life must be like that all the time, hard. Even this massive bounty of luggage you took from us must have been hard. The reselling of the items must hard. The burden of carrying so many stolen items must be hard. Knowing that you have robbed a father, a mother, a child, must be hard.

We have spent the last few days in shock, but we have a plan. A plan to make things right and to reclaim the things that were taken from us. We will make our way out of this situation, rather than break our way out. This is our choice, this has been our choice from the beginning. The act of creation, to make things better.

This is our plan for life, to keep making things better. For ourselves, for our families, for our community. We want things to keep getting better.

We will make a painting of each item of our luggage. A small gouache painting of each item, and then write down our memories, our hopes. How it would have fit in to our lives back home.

In doing so, while we won’t have the object itself, we will keep our intention. At the end of the year we will exhibit those paintings, to share with everyone our reclamation.


You might be able to help

If you are the person who took our things, we would love if you could return the pieces that you aren’t able to make money off. You could simply put them back in to one of the suitcases you took, our names are already on there, then drop them with the valet at the Hyatt on 555 North Point Street.

Wear a cap and sunglasses, walk up casually, leave it there. No questions will be asked, we’d just really love to have back some of the things. Especially our personal items, like sketchbooks, diaries and the like.

If you work at a vintage or op shop in the San Francisco bay area, you might recognise some of our things popping up. Obviously, there’s the big items like the luggage itself, but then there’s also all the individual pieces that might come through your store.

If you click through here, you can find a listing of all the things we can remember.

Even YOU can help, yes YOU. The person you doesn’t know anyone living in SF and can’t afford to buy. Just by sharing this article with as many people as you can you will be doing so much.


Raising Funds

In the mean time, I am hoping to raise money to replace some of the items, restock my art supplies, socks, underpants, work clothes. There’s a couple of ways I’m hoping to do this. I usually sell them through Etsy, but because we’ve had to shut down our credit cards, I’ve also had to deactivate the store. I won’t be able to have it back up and running for a few weeks. If you’re interested in buying anything, then I have a paypal account.

Orders can be placed through

Our Paypal account is

camp nintendo
I sell a range of prints of my illustrations over on my etsy shop. Some of them have been quite popular. I have my Animal Crossing,Game of Thrones and Mount Triforce A3 prints available as well as my Legend of Zelda Isometric A4 size prints. I also have my Ninja Gaiden, Just a Girl square print available. The Camp Nintedo prints should be available soon through Fangamer (with a portion of the sales going to me, so it all helps). All the prints are archival quality inks on thick high quality paper.
A3 size prints are $30 and A4 size prints are $20.

I am offering up commissioned illustrations again. I had stopped doing this last year to make time to work on my graphic novel, Home Time. These commissions are in my 8 Bit Dreams style, which I am probably best known from. You can order one of those with any subject matter you choose for $50. Obviously i have done a lot of classic video games, but I have also covered comics, animated series, films, engagement illustrations. Anything you would like.
All illustrations are 14cm x 14cm, ink and watercolour on thick archival paper.

Role Playing Portraits
I’ve also done quite a few portraits for peoples role playing game characters. These are done in the same style as my 8 Bit Dreams and will include any and all features, items and details you’d like. These are also $50 and I’ll ship the original illustration to you.

Cross Section Isometrics
You can also commission an isometric illustration from me for $300, these are original ink and watercolour illustrations on thick paper. Again, you can commission one on any subject matter you choose. These are much larger and intricate works. Above, you can see my Game of Thrones illustration. I love to throw in heaps of extra details, hidden in the forest there are imagery alluding to many of the houses in the series. I’ll totally go in to crazy detail for you if you choose one of these. You saw my Animal Crossing piece? It’ll be like that.

I also run various comics making workshops in Perth, Western Australia. So if you are a university, primary school, library or arts festival who would like to book me in, I’m more than welcoming new workshop bookings. I have run workshops for children, at risk teens in the outer suburbs, at universities for illustration students and high schools. These workshops can be tailored to your needs and have been run at a variety of lengths, from drop ins, day long workshops to three day intensives.

My partner is also an amazing artist and sculptor and is offering up a range of small needle felted dogs that can be purchased. These dogs were initially part of a project called Pup Pup is the Boss of the Stars that helped fund her attendance at various arts workshops.
There are two kinds that are available.
For $50 you can purchase a Corazon pup, the dog from her childhood, needle felted and suspended in a silver star.
For $100 you can commission a needle felted version of your very own dog.


89 thoughts on “to the person who took our luggage

  1. Hi Campbell,

    Beautifully written and so so sorry that this has happened to you all. I have been left with absolutely no luggage before but not stolen. Such a gross invasion of privacy, dishonest and cowardly. I am so sorry this has happened to yooz, such beautiful caring people. Yes, it shouldn’t happen to anyone, but better if it was some greedy self absorbed peeps.

    So I would like to help. If you are in Florida, my parents live there and maybe you could have a break. They are lovely caring people. Otherwise, I am in Europe so can I send you some of my clothes, maybe for Liz?

    I will look at your Etsy to buy something. Nothing can replace the objects you have lost, only the memories, but… I am saddened.

    Anyway, let me know. If you are coming to Europe come stay with me. Or if there is some small way I can help…


  2. Hi Campbell, Elizabeth and Nazzario!!
    I am shocked to read your story and amazed that you can have such
    Heart and optimism to come back from such a tragic event!!
    I will share your blog with my family over in the states.
    Sending my love and blessings xxxx

  3. Hello, I live in San Francisco, I will share this with everyone I know, also will try to get the press to pick it up. Since I am right here in the city, I’d love to help out somehow if I can. Could I buy you lunch? I just wish I could wave a magic wand and find your luggage for you

  4. Thanks for your kind words Susan, we’re no longer in San Francisco. The theft occurred on the day we were leaving.
    Everyone’s kindness and generosity is very comforting.

  5. Hi Minaxi,

    We’re flying back to Australia today, so at least we’ll be back in our home with our family.
    You’re so kind and generous, you’re offers are too sweet and we really appreciate them.

    I hope your travels are going well. Keep safe!

  6. Ah yes, I’ve just updated that.
    Because we had to cancel our credit cards, I had to close my etsy shop. It’ll be open when I get home.

  7. Hi,
    I’m not sure how your luggage was stollen, or where from.. but the homeless network in SF is pretty fantastic. If you have friends here that can get the word out, $1-$2 for every item found, no questions asked- you may recover a good amount of your belongings. I’ve seen it happen before. I live in a warehouse that’s easy for people to get to, and would be happy to help co-ordinate such an effort…

  8. That’s an amazing idea, I’ve never heard of or thought of something like that.
    I don’t really have any connections there though, will start reaching out.

  9. Campbell:

    I’m so sorry this happened to your family. Longest of long shots regarding the artwork: this is California and most waste facilities will sort & recycle everything they can before sending the rest to the landfill. I’m not sure who has the waste contract for San Francisco, but you might try contacting them directly with your list of items. Good luck

  10. Hi,
    Im so sorry to hear this and cant imagine how sad it is. Not only have you lost things worth money you have lost memories. Im not sure when you are getting married but im going to be travelling around Mexico next year and would be happy to try and get some of the same things for you. Im australian as well and could easily bring them back.

  11. Hi Campbell,
    I have a few friends in SF and have passed this link on to them. Hope you get some of your treasured memories back old mate. My love to Liz and Naz’.
    Matt x

  12. I live in the San Francisco Bay area. I am a Home Health nurse and I frequent thrift stores, buying things for my patients that they desperately need- specifically shaped pillows to prevent bed sores in the newly wheelchair-bound, sheets for the mattress I got off the side of the road for my lady without a bed, towels for the man who ruined his when he stopped the bleeding. I am also a HUGE ASoIaF fan for over 10 years and a former artist. (tho you are always one, you just stopped creating, right?) I didn’t start crying until I saw your pic of the Stark boys w Osha and Hodor, but even before I got that far I decided to let you know: I’ll be looking for your things. I’ll be looking and I will buy them if I have the money in my pocket, and if I don’t, I’ll let the owner of the store know where the items came from. I’m printing out this letter so I can carry it and your photos/description. I’ll repeat this story to others and share the contact info you listed when requested. I hope you get some of your life back.

  13. Telling you I am sorry you and your family experienced this won’t help, but I am. I am also chagrined and furious that this experience will be one of your primary memories of my country now.

    I’ll be sharing this on my FB page. I sincerely regret that this happened to y’all, and I hope a door opens for you quickly.

  14. If you are still in the San Francisco Area, I have art supplies you can have.

    If this interests you, email me.


  15. Oh, sorry, I’ve read the comments, you’ve left for home. I don’t think shipping you craft supplies would be very cost effective.

    I’ll try to spread the link for your Etsy store.


  16. What an awful experience. I am so sorry. I hope you are able to retrieve some of the lovely things.

  17. I feel really sorry for your loss and hope that the thief will read this and return your items (though I think thats unlikely)

    I’m working on a solution that lets you track all your belongings… You will be alarmed if something goes out of your reach. Your case proves again that the world needs that kind of technology!

    I wish you all the power and energy to rebuild your loss!

    Ben Holfeld

  18. I know what it is like to have something precious stolen from you.
    I had a display in a modern shopping center and the night before I cleaned my desk and put several computer USBs with family pictures in the carry case. I put them in there to be safe while I was cleaning my disc. I should have never left them in the case, that was a my first mistake. The next day as I was setting up a display in the shopping centre while my back was turned for just 20 seconds a thief stole my 12 month old Max book pro, new carry case my daughter had just given my as a gift, power supply and 5 ~6 usbs with photos, business plans, advertising materiel, Denmark, London travel movies, business ideas, budget planning, web construction tools and just the day before it was stolen I had a complete suite of programs installed on my computer. As I turned my back for 20 seconds, it was gone. The shock was beyond belief. Later, Police recovered video of the thief, he walked past security and just walked out of the shopping center with all my valued property.
    The computer, case and blank new USB’s were replaced in just two days. The item I would give any thing for is the 6 USB drives. They had some family/holiday photo/videos that I will never get again. I have never heard from the police, its gone for good.
    When I read your story I can say, I know what you are going through. A part of your life has gone for good. For weeks I was in denial, angry. Cross with myself for what has happened. To think that the thief could even look at my computer was enough to upset me. Then to think that it would mean nothing to a thief and all they would do is to wipe the hard drive and USB sticks blank and remove all my memories. Its been 2 years since that day and it still makes my sick to think of it.
    I believe you have done everything and I sincerely hope that the universe will one day return your valued items to you and your family.
    Warmest regards

  19. Dear Family
    I’m a 65 yr old woman. I have had and lost, including a 13 year old Son but I still have 3 others. Some of my losses have caused me to shut down for many years but I keep going and hoping and trying. I used to feel great pain over my losses, the last being the photo albums I have dragged around with me for 40 + yrs……I’ve even lived in a van on the streets of the lower mainland in Vancouver Can for 3 1/2 months at age 45. I still have to help out 2 of my children in their 40’s because one has mental problem and the other struggles to to keep work…….BUT…….what has saved my life and gotten me passed all my losses was when I found Buddha and he taught me how to LET GO!…….2x in my life I have had 2 new pair or running shoes……ALL my clothes (and still for my kids) I buy at second hand stores, even underwear. I have never been a materialist so I don’t buy into advertising. I did buy a hunting and fishing lodge as an inheritance for my Native Canadian Indian children…..but lost it due to no bookings and Free Trade…….had a nervous breakdown for 10 yrs over that one……..but I’m ok, I keep fighting…..I once lived on having $5.00 a month for 9 months, and I have no family that has ever helped me, nor…….have I ever stolen anything from anyone……my philosophy of life is……if I don’t have the money for it, I don’t need it.
    I sure wish I could help…..but thank the powers above that you still have the ability to put things together and you will survive this……Peace and Love to you and your family

  20. I am so sorry to hear this. So awful. I’ve pinned this post to my pinterest board with the largest following to help spread the word. Wishing you & your family all the best.

  21. Very touching article. Hope you find at least some of those items back. I have been robbed before by thieves myself and understand the sheer hopelessness you may feel at this moment. Wish you all the happiness and health life can offer. As for material things they are just that. They have no meaning without you giving them life. Enjoy your life. Love your child. Smile for your family and spend all your time being happy for the freedom you have. To rebuild to trust again and to be free to keep doing all the wonderfull things you always invisioned doing. Cheers


  22. I am so sorry that this happened to you and your family. The letter you wrote made my heart sink and yet very moving. I live in Texas. I am single mom and my son went to D.C. this summer with his school. All his souvenirs were stolen out of his bag. It came off the belt opened. Obviously someone had gone through it. He was devastated. he had worked hard for. to make the money for this trip. . This was nothing compared to your loss. I am going to checkout your list and contact you regarding sizes and things I may have… keep believing there are a lot of good people out there and they will be watching for your stuff..

  23. I’m not at all surprised that this crime took place in San Francisco. I’m sorry to hear it.

  24. Hi Campbell,
    I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I know exactly how you feel. Around 7 years ago, our family (myself, my husband, and my 2 daughters, then around 11 and 7) took a long vacation to California. On the last night of our trip, we had left ALL of our luggage in our rental car (which was parked in the parking lot) and went to a restaurant in Old Town, which is a suburb of San Diego. We returned to find that the rental car and everything inside it had vanished. The only things we had were the clothes on our backs, my husband’s wallet, and our plane tickets back to Boston. I too had to lie to my youngest who had lost her beloved “pink blankie” that she’s had since birth.A few months later, police had found the rental car abandoned in the middle of Mexico, with all of our belongings gone. I highly recommend that you stay in touch with California police and ask them to connect with police in Mexico. I am truly devastated for you, and I hope that you catch those sick bastards that did this, along with your belongings.

  25. Wow, I am so sorry to hear of your loss and a loss in this manner. Safe travels and I hope that your belongings will be returned. I’m passing this around. Hugs and prayers.

  26. This breaks my heart all over again – my luggage was stolen from my rental car at Fisherman’s Wharf in 2001. And material goods aside, my handmade blanket from my Great Grandma was in one of the bags. I don’t think of anything else that was taken all these years later except for that. Something no one in the world ever would’ve wanted but me… and I know it was probably discarded and it tears me up. Especially now that she’s gone.

    I scoured dumpsters and trash cans for days looking for any sign of it but with no luck. I suspect with the power of the Internet, you may just see your goods again and I’ll be praying that is the case!

  27. So sorry to hear of your abrupt introduction with the douche nozzles of our country. Gonna send a donation to you via paypal to help you get started. Keep the art and sell it some other way. Also if you’re interested my site interviews animators and artists. Check it out and let me know if you’re up for an interview. Sorry for your loss.

  28. Looks like Susan O’Connor got it. I came here from a Business Insider email. ;)

    Your work is awesome, and I wish I could get some of your stuff delivered here to Brazil (see how far you got?), but the shipping costs usually spoil the whole thing.

    Could you please drop me an email when/if you find some sort of shipping them down here?

    Wish you the best.


  29. Recology (our local waste facilities)actually has an artist in residence program where artists make art with materials collected from the dump. Perhaps you could reach out to a fellow artist to see if they see any of your stuff. Recology combs through the trash pretty thoroughly and separates by type. Here’s a link:

  30. Hi,

    Really sorry to read your story and hear of your misfortune. I run a little print shop in Vic Park, Perth. Not sure if printing will help you, but if you’re in need of anything printing let me know and we’ll help you out. Regards

  31. I’m so sorry to hear of your plight .It happened to us on a flight to England though only clothes were taken, and again at victoria bus station on another trip,I won’t talk about that one it still is painfull.when you get back to Perth i will suggest you for a workshop with the kids of Highgate primary where my daughter works as the art specialist.Enjoy the rest of your time away

  32. That’s so kind of you Vanessa, we do have a friend in Mexico who will be helping us to repurchase some of our things and will ship them to us.
    Namely the Mariachi suits for our son and nephew and some of the embroidered blankets.

  33. Hi Tracy,

    It sounds like you do amazing work helping the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the Bay Area, which is so amazing.
    We realise that although we had a terrible thing happen to us, we are surrounded by amazing community that can help elevate us out of the situation. Unfortunately so many people lack this kind of assistance in times of need. It makes us remember just how lucky we are.
    Thank you for your kind words and support.

  34. So sorry to hear about the theft :( I live in San Francisco and have passed this on to my friends. Will definitely keep an eye out when I’m downtown. (Btw-Recology is the contractor for recycling/garbage here in the city).

  35. Hi Sara,
    While we travelled in the States we were met with nothing but kindness and generosity from the people living there.
    Although this memory will remain with us forever, it will be measured with all the other greatness we experienced.
    Thanks for your support.

  36. Thanks for the generous offer Ember.
    Unfortunately, shipping packages from the USA to Australia would be pretty costly.
    We really appreciate you spreading the word.

  37. Hi Greg,

    Yes, I felt nausea for days after and was dry retching from the stress.
    It’s strange. On the surface of it, they’re just objects, it’s just money.
    Our bodies were not violated, we are left with no physical scars, we are not directly assaulted. There is still a pain though, a stress.

    I’m sorry for your loss, unfortunately there are just the right amount of opportunists in the world who will take advantage of our momentary lapses.

  38. Thanks for sharing your amazing story Colline.
    Life seems to be a cycle of welcoming things in to your life, and then saying farewell.
    We have had more private losses than this, and will welcome more joys in to our life as well.
    I think we have to move forward with grace and understanding that all will pass.

    I hope you are doing well and that many good things come your way.

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