The Week I Got In Trouble With The Monaco Police

This Week:

  • Getting in trouble with the Monaco police.
  • An emotional moment about a spoon.
  • A glimpse into my mind and how I’ve really been feeling lately.

October 2023

Su M T W Th F S

Where In The World Was I?

  • Nice, France
  • 🚅
  • Marseille, France
  • 🚅
  • Paris, France

Live Travel Map 🌎

Exploring The French Riviera (Nice, France)

Just here picking up my newest yacht in my collection 🤪

Villefranche Sur Mer

Went to Villefranche one night and another morning/afternoon to chill on the beach and swim. Just a simple bus ride away!

Like com’on how is this place real?

So nice to just chill, the water was gorgeous and cool but not cold.

Getting In Trouble With The Police AGAIN 🤦‍♂️

So one morning I headed to Monaco, which is only about a 20 minute train ride away!

The plan was to explore the city for a couple hours, then take a train back one stop to Mala Beach in the afternoon.

Yes I bought my train ticket 😄

I headed down the hill through Monaco and meandered my way through the streets towards this public wide open dock area.

I sat and ate my sandwich that I brought, looked at all the massive yachts, and watched the boats come in and out of the port.

After my snack, I brought out my drone to grab some beautiful pictures.

The DJI app told me I was in an “Enhanced Warning Zone,” (orange) which basically means “there’s a lot of people here don’t be stupid,” but it didn’t give any restrictions.

A bit further south was an “Authorization Zone,” (light blue) which requires you to submit an application in order to fly.

So, checks aside, I put the drone up!

Knowing that I was near a whole bunch of yachts worth upwards of hundreds of millions of dollars, I flew my drone out over the water and not over any boats. I wanted to be respectful and just get in and out quickly without causing any ruckus.

Maybe 10 minutes and a couple beautiful pictures later, I bring the drone back in for landing.

I catch my drone and literally as I turn around, two police officers on their bikes pull up right in front of me.

The one in front gets off his bike and goes “hi, yeah, there are no drones allowed in Monaco. Can I see your ID?”

In a bit of a shock, I reach into my pocket and hand over my ID and we walk back over to my backpack.

I tell them I had no idea and explain how the DJI app doesn’t say it’s an authorization zone here, just a warning zone, which allowed me to fly. But, they were explaining how all of Monaco it’s prohibited to fly drones.

They radioed back and forth to the command center, giving my name and such, but both officers were actually quite friendly and respectful.

They asked if I took any videos and I said no.

After some more radioing, they asked to see what photos I took.

Some more radioing, then they said I have to delete all the photos I took.

A minute or two later, he pulls out his ticket booklet and goes, “so we just write you a ticket, then it’s okay.”

I’m thinking “bruh you can’t just put ‘then it’s okay’ after ‘I’m writing you a ticket’ 😂” but I think their point was that the ticket is all and then they leave.

About halfway through, the main officer says, out of the blue, “because it’s a DJI, it’s okay.”

“Oh, it’s allowed?” I responded.

“It’s okay” as he nodded and shook his head.

I was very confused and wondering if there was some mistranslation or something, but just kept answering their questions as they went through the ticket.

At some point I asked, “did… did someone call in about the drone?” thinking, ah I wonder if one of the yacht owners was a Karen and ratted on me to the police.

He responded saying they have a team/people that monitor the frequency that the drone signal uses and got a call from them that someone was using a drone in the area.

I was actually quite shocked (and respectfully, impressed).

They wrap up and hand me the ticket. I expect them to pull out a credit card terminal (like the guy in Vienna did) but they just go to get back on their bikes.

Still mostly in shock and confusion, I ask again about this “because it’s a DJI, it’s okay” thing. He points to the back of the ticket and explains how I can follow the instructions to contest the ticket by writing in a letter to explain my situation.

I thank them, and the main officer brings up how (since I told him I’m from Boston) he went on vacation one time to Boston and he got bitten by a squirrel and had to go to the hospital. A bit of a weird story given the circumstances, but again, he was very friendly. He had also said he has a DJI drone himself, so he seemed to be understanding.

They biked off and I stood there with a ticket in my hand, thinking, what just happened 😅

I collected myself and then went back on my phone searching “drone laws Monaco,” thinking, “stupid me I should’ve check beforehand.” But adding to the confusion, I found mixed information. Some articles said they’re allowed. Some said they aren’t. It didn’t provide any clarity, so I decided to just go with the information the officer gave me.

I debated just paying the ticket (I believe it was for 100.00€ if I read the handwriting correctly) to rid myself of this weight/debt, but given what I was told, I figured I’d give it a shot to contest it.

The next obstacle was figuring out how to write and send a single letter.

I thought surely I’m gonna have to go to some Staples-equivalent, buy a 100-pack of printer paper, 50-pack of envelopes, and 12 pack of stamps for $12.79 and then use 1 piece of paper, 1 envelope, and 1 stamp, then inevitably throw the rest out because I… live in 2 backpacks 😅

I went to a post office and after explaining this, to my surprise the lady working there gave me a single piece of paper, a single envelope, and a single stamp, all for 2.40€! I think she said she had to ring me up for the whole pack of envelopes, but I was actually extremely shocked and grateful. I didn’t think it would be possible 😄.

I wrote my letter, addressed it, then handed it back to the lady and went on my way.

I left feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulder because it was really out of my hands at that point. I basically said how I was using a DJI brand drone, that the officer said it was okay, and that the DJI app didn’t say it was an authorization zone.

As requested, I also provided my credit card information.

And… it’s been 6 days and I haven’t received a charge yet 😶 So if it’s true that it is allowed, I’m mildly disappointed I had to delete my photos 🥲

That said, a little illegal (or is it legal?) side note: I did in fact delete the photos from my drone through the app, but I forgot in the moment that sometimes the phone will download the photos automatically and save them to the phone. So… I uh, cannot confirm nor deny that my phone may have saved some of the photos despite them being deleted from the drone 😅 Do I have illegal photos of the beautiful port of Monaco on my phone? The world will never know. I need a lawyer 😂 But see hypothetically speaking if it IS allowed, then why did I need to delete my beautiful photos 😭


I come bearing bad news… As you know, I contested this ticket and in my letter I put my email address. Well, on November 3rd, about one month after my ticket and letter, I received an email with this document.

Translated to:

By letter dated October 2, 2023, you requested a measure of leniency relating to an offense reported against you on the same day for Drone: flight prohibited without authorization.

After examining the request, it appears that the offense punished was fully characterized. I therefore regret to inform you that in these conditions, it is impossible for me to reserve a favorable response to the request.

To regularize this situation, please find the bank details to make the transfer of €100.00

Failing this, you could be subject to a summons to appear before the Simple Police Court of the Principality within the legal deadlines.

In the meantime, please accept, Sir, the expression of my feelings distinguished.

And so without any other options, I used (not sponsored, none of my banks would do international wires) to send the €100 to the international bank account number they listed in the document.

So moral of the story? Don’t fly a drone in Monaco 😅… Now, back to the post.

Anyways, that wasn’t exactly how I expected my morning in Monaco to go and took up a couple hours, so I decided to just skip the rest of Monaco and head straight to Mala Beach.

And oh my…

Mala Beach / Cap d’Ail

I soaked in the sun on the beach and went swimming, proper chilling and decompressing.

Brought out the GoPro for some fun:

What a beautiful spot with the huge cliffs on either side!

As I started to mention in last week’s post, I liked the French Riviera a lot. The geography was just incredible – cliffs, tiered houses, all right on top of gorgeous turquoise water, and being able to get everywhere by train.

I will most definitely be back!

Relaxing In The Port City (Marseille, France)

Headed back to Marseille for my 2nd doses of vaccines ✅

And honestly I didn’t really do much else in Marseille. I was just there for 2 nights and mostly just relaxed in the hostel watching YouTube, doing some duolingo, etc.

The evening of the full day I was there, I headed out to wander around the port. By the port entrance was this big castle and a walkway around the edge. I sat there and watched a beautiful sunset!

An Ember Of Curiosity

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Back To The City Of Love (Paris, France)

A Stranger Becomes A Friend

This girl I sat next to on the train to Paris sparked up a little conversation. We ended up chatting the whole 3 hour train ride about travels, Europe, life, work, etc. What a great experience!

Life In Paris

Did my first (proper) workout in literally a month.

One full day here, I explored the city looking for photography art galleries, a theme you may be noticing emerge more than once here.

I was actually quite hopeful as I found a good number of them on Google Maps. However, they all turned out not quite as I was hoping, except for one…

I was walking down a random street on my way to the next gallery when I looked over to my left. Across the street inside the window I saw some big photos of people posing. I thought, hey I’m open for anything (i.e. not landscape photos), so I went over.

I looked in through the window and saw some huge landscape photos in the back and the name YellowKorner (which I visited in Milan!).

I went in and ohhhh my lord that was just what I was looking for.

My only nitpick is that I think YellowKorner is a big global company, not a smaller independent gallery from the local area. They have galleries/studios all around the world. So, I saw a good amount of photos I had seen in Milan, but I also saw a lot of photos that were gorgeous and literally exactly what I was searching for.

I left feeling fired up (as usual). My mood changed completely from just kind of normal me, to more bubbly, talkative, funny. It’s amazing how that works.

That afternoon really was more about the journey than the destination.

I had so much fun walking through the beautiful streets of Paris, just somewhat wandering but also with some locations directing me.

I swear, this place feels different than other cities.

The boulangerie I stumbled into that had the single greatest pain au chocolat I’ve ever eaten (BRIGAT’):

The Thing That (Might) Change Everything

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I got a letter that I’m being summoned for jury duty back in South Dakota for the first half of 2024.

I may very well still be in Southeast Asia on the other side of the world…

You literally can’t make this shit up 😂

The one thing I NEVER would’ve expected.

I emailed my virtual mailbox provider to see if there are any kind of exemptions for full-time nomads because I can’t be the first one to run into this.

But if I can’t get an exemption… I may be headed back to the U.S. a lot sooner than I thought 😅

The Spoon Incident

My second day in Paris was a lot more chill, at least the first half 😅

I spent the morning in a cafe as usual, ordering an espresso and pastry.

However when I got back to the hostel I wasn’t feeling super motivated to get out and explore like the previous day.

I grabbed my laptop and caught up on some digital organization – budgeted, monthly finance update, cleared emails, cleaned up my notes, etc. Just a bunch of shallow admin-y tasks.

But 6 hours later I was hitting a wall, yeah, 6 hours later 😅 I was getting very hungry and couldn’t think anymore.

Having literally not eaten anything since ~9am, my new challenge was trying to figure out how to get ~2,000 calories and enough nutrients in my body to not “fall behind” for the day, all within about 3 hours. See because if you just go out and eat a single big meal, you may be too full to eat anything else later, so there’s some strategy to it.

My single-focused mind went to “protein shakes,” so I went to the supermarket across the street and bought another protein shake and 2-pack of high protein yogurt, something I did the previous day.

I walked back to the hostel and to the back seating/bar area.

Quick context: this hostel doesn’t have a guest kitchen like many others. Instead, it’s more like a bar and restaurant with a proper food menu along with a seating area. It seems to be a bit more “upscale” than a regular hostel.

Since there’s no kitchen, the previous day I just went to the bar and asked the bartender for a spoon, ate my yogurt, then returned it to him, no questions asked. However, on my way out of the seating/bar area, I noticed a sign next to the door saying “we don’t accept outside food.” Being on the back of the wall, I hadn’t seen it, but figured it was chill.

So fast forward to the present, I’m walking up the bar with my yogurt and protein shake. The bartender is a different guy this time.

I point down to my yogurt and casually ask “hey, could I just grab a spoon?”

The bartender looks up at me, shakes his head as he says “no” and mumbles something that I couldn’t understand.

I respond “just a spoon” as I do a scooping motion with my hand.

He continues to kind of mumble and shake his head “no” as he moves between the sink and other parts of the bar but I still couldn’t understand what he was saying, so I just… stood there.

Then I hear him say, “outside food is prohibited” and he points to a camera behind him and says something like his manager will see him.

Like a deer in headlights, I stood there utterly shocked and confused.

I responded, “I’ll eat it outside?” And he just shakes his head and says “no.”

I say, “so like… do you know what I can do?”

He, confused, just repeats somewhat frustrated, “I can’t give you spoon.”

Still frozen, I say “… okay?” and slowly turn and walk out back.

I walk up to the reception, thinking, this is hostel, they must have a plastic spoon or something right? I ask if they have a spoon and the girl kind of looks around at the desk, then says “you could ask the bartender.”

I explain how he wouldn’t give me one and she responds “there are some shops around here, you could try going there.”

I thank her and walk out, utterly confused.

So I walk back to the supermarket I was just at, thinking they must have those little single-use plastic utensils in the bakery section or something.

I ask the guy (boy?) at register, still with my protein shake and yogurt in hand if I could “just grab a spoon?”

He looks around his desk, pulls a drawer open, and says “we don’t have any, you can go down this aisle and on the right.”

I walk down the aisle, turn right, and see a shelf of utensil-related items. There’s the 20 pack of spoons and forks for whatever 2€, the 10 pack of sporks for 1.2€, etc.

I don’t see any single-use utensils, so I’m looking at the prices. I see the cheapest is something like 0.20€ for a 5 (or 10?) pack of wooden spoon/forks.

Time slows for a split second as I imagine trying to buy 0.20€ on a credit card, them wanting me to pay cash (which I already don’t like doing). Then I imagine buying this 5 pack of wooden spoons, using a single one, then doing what? Throwing the rest out?

See there’s a certain mentality I’ve had particularly while backpacking of “stuff.” I don’t want or like extra stuff. I just don’t have space for it.

So, more or less fed up and not wanting to deal with this anymore, I walk back up to the cash register and go “I’d like to return these yogurts. I was in here like 3 minutes ago. They’re still unopened, I haven’t touched them.”

The guy, kind of flustered, goes “uh” and fiddles with the computer.

Naturally, I didn’t ask for a receipt when I bought them 🤦‍♂️, but I showed him my transaction and explained how I was literally just in here.

He, confused, goes “why do you want to return them?”

I kind of laugh, “I just wanted a spoon. I can’t find a spoon. I just want my money back.”

I thought it might be a quick process, but I don’t think he knew what to do, so the manager came over.

She, visibly flustered, went scrolling back through the computer, typing away.

A minute or two later, they hand me 3.15€ in cash. I say “thank you, merci” and walk out.

Nothing. Not even eye contact.

I walk out, awkwardly, and back to the hostel, thinking, “am I a Karen (read as, “entitled brat who demands things go their way”)?

“Like probably, but also why is is so hard to get a single spoon? Am I crazy?”

I recorded myself talking through what just happened, frustrated, but also confused.

Now ravenously hungry and barely able to think, I just picked a restaurant and start walking.

I ended up just eating a fish burger and fries (great place), but it was definitely not enough for an entire day’s worth of food.

I still couldn’t really think straight, so I went to the Champ de Mars park (right outside the Eiffel Tower) and sat on a bench to settle down a bit.

Fast forward an hour or two of watching some YouTube, doing some Duolingo, and staring at the beautifully lit up Eiffel Tower.

I felt like I just needed to cut that night as a loss and move on. That whole spoon thing really just started this negative spiral of thoughts. Should’ve done this, could’ve done that, why did I do that, etc. I’m not particularly proud of myself for that whole event, but I also understand that I was running on zero food and ravenously hungry.

Which kind of segues into some things that have been on my mind lately…

A Peek Into My Mind

Stalled Travels

October 8th 2023 | Spoons, Change, and Work

I feel like I'm in this weird middle ground.

Not enough routine to sink my teeth into something work-wise, to create structure again working everyday.

But also not feeling inspired or motivated to really explore cities much anymore.

Sure, I want to rest my foot, but like it's not THAT bad ya know?

I feel like I'm just... existing... waiting for the next thing.

As you know, ever since breaking my toe, I’ve spent a lot more time just chilling, resting, watching YouTube, spending more time on social media.

And at this point, I feel like most European cities haven’t started looking similarly. I just haven’t felt the inspiration to go take photos (of cities) or motivation to go do touristy things or really explore much at all.

It feels like I need some kind of change. Fortunately I’m headed to SE Asia soon. It kind of feels like my mind is already there. But also, how much will that really fix the deeper issue?

The Desire For Income

This has surfaced a couple times here and there, but I’ve noticed it a lot more lately.

October 5th 2023 | Things On My Mind

I had the desire to be making money again yesterday.

It would solve all these anxieties/worries about spending and running out of money.

Sure it would present new challenges, of course.

But also there's the balancing act between how much do I invest my money on experiences now vs. stay put and grind?

I dunno.

And to add to that… What if I’m not actually spending my money on experiences except a hotel, transportation, and food? And spending most of the day just sitting around?

Feeling Lost

This came up while talking with the girl from Milan and now again with the girl on the train to Paris.

October 6th 2023 | Lost

I feel so lost.

The biggest tells/giveaways have been when talking with others - [Milan girl] and now [train girl].

I hesitate. I have no confidence. I can't provide any clear answers.

All I know is that I don't want to work for somebody else.

I want my own business I can control, I want my own income.

I just have no idea how to get there or where to even start building something I'm interested in.

What am I even that interested in?

Photography is just a hobby.

Programming is just a means of solving problems.

My blog posts are just meant for my future self.

I don't have anything external.

I crave having an income, to reduce my anxieties around spending money right now, to pursue new opportunities, to explore more of life.

But, I don't know where to start.

Thinking about anything related to making calls to strangers terrifies me.

In both conversations, I ended up saying, with so much hesitation, that I feel like the real end goal is being a life coach of some - applying problem solving to people's lives, careers, goals. (Funny how that's my/the idea yet I'm completely lost myself).

But the problem is, it feels unattainable without 5-10 years of just life experience, figuring my OWN life out.

But then again, that could very well just be a limiting belief I'm holding on to.

The question becomes, what do I do in the meantime? What can I build that I'm interested in? I'm just skeptical about this path of building/validating little SaaS projects, not that they won't work, but that I won't be interested in it enough, that it'll turn into "work" that I "have" to do...

I won't even offer any solutions here, I just want to feel it.

Talking with [train girl] about traveling Europe and all the beautiful places out there, I felt overwhelmed. 

There are so many places and not enough time. I'll never get to them all, even being so young.

My immediate next thought was, I need to figure out how to make money so I can travel to all these places...

And I sat there, feeling helpless and lost, not being able to connect any of the dots together.

I felt the masculine urge to provide, to have it figured out, but I don't.

I felt vulnerable, almost disappointed.

What am I missing?

And with that, see you next week ✌️


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