How I was almost left stranded - Thanks FNB.

10:30 am

I have gotten to a point where I do not stress about my travel hiccups. I take it as part of the journey. Especially moving from one country to the next. I am at a point where i actually laugh about said hiccups and always remain calm.

I spent my last week of the year in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. It's just been one big party as the whole town was alive with professional groovists. After the 2nd January the whole town was just like a ghost town. The streets were empty and the bars that blasted the loud music were closed. Reality soon hit that the festive season was over - lovingly known as #ZiiBigDays on Twitter.
I walked to the Vic Falls border in Zimbabwe to cross over to Zambia. It's a 2km walk so a taxi wasn't necessary even with my big bags. I had thought I would hike from the Zambian border but there weren't any cars or trucks. So I got a $2 sharing taxi into Livingstone, found out the bus times so I decided to wander the streets of Livingstone for the day and catch a 10pm bus from Livingstone to Lusaka. To any traveler this makes sense. Save up on accommodation for the night and sleep on the bus overnight so that when you reach your destination you still have a full day to explore.
One of my greatest idea this... until at 4pm I went to the bank to with draw money to book my bus and my card kept being rejected. Guess what? FNB South Africa has blocked my card. So I get some WiFi to try figure it all out. Perhaps try access my internet banking to see what was going on, I couldn't access that either...

Before leaving South Africa I sent FNB numerous emails informing them of my travels to avoid this happening. Clearly I was wasting my time. The reason I only had $2 was because I knew if I withdrew cash in Zimbabwe when I changed it to Kwachas (Zambian currency) I'd lose money.
So now I found a backpackers, great idea until I realized I couldn't sleep there as I had no money. So I started tweeting FNB and the FNB guy all he could say was I will look into it and escalate it tomorrow. I was stuck in a foreign country and FNB couldn't be bothered. I had not eaten all day and no place to sleep and definitely no bus to Lusaka.
I then phoned Lulu my Zambian friend and told her my situation and she tweeted Richard the owner/manager of Chanters Lodge in Livingstone who then offered me a night for free plus breakfast in the morning. As I checked in I was so happy to see a double bed, and this bed was for me alone. I was so happy I almost jumped on the bed, but instead I decided to jump into the shower. I was so happy for hot water. I do not remember when was the last time I had a proper hot shower. I had gotten used to bathing in a bucket or just a cold bath.
The aircon was a special cherry on top that made all days trouble just fly away.
So I was sorted for the night...

With regards to FNB, I have followed up numerous times throughout the day and the issue that I was told will be sorted urgently has not been sorted now at 2pm. I have not even been contacted. They really couldn't be bothered.
I've had issues with FNB while I was still in Namibia but nothing this crazy. Honestly, if you are a traveler, FNB is not the bank to depend on because that's like inviting fate to come and deal you a blow and leave you stranded. While I was in Zimbabwe I sent an email requesting an email address for assistance I was given a number to phone, who cares that I requested an email address. I must just deal with the number. They don't care that you are not roaming. Why are you making your problems theirs???
With that being said, FNB has lost a client in me. I'd rather move to Steve's bank, maybe I'll get better service there.

A friend that hosted me in Botswana was able to send me some money via Western Union so I was able to bus ticket to Lusaka.
I am now on a bus to Lusaka that was suppose to depart Livingstone at 2pm. It only arrived at 2pm.... Because African time doesn't care what your clock says. There is also aircon on this bus so I can't complain.

So if anything you can learn from this: FNB is not the bank of choice when traveling foreign countries alone. In fact FNB is not the bank you want to be stressing about period. Rather keep your money under your mattress if that makes you happy.
P.S. If I had the money, FNB was definitely getting a billboard announcing it's shocking disinterest in customer service. Ask CellC they know better now.

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