If confession is good for the soul, I need to confess. I claim to be Good to Go, but alas, before our tour to Tuscany, I almost wasn’t. But God looks after dumb dumbs, and he assigned extra saints and angels to keep me going. Please allow me to explain.
I lost my passport. That’s right. I. Lost. My. Passport… One of my most prized possessions, the thing my family knows to grab for me in case of an exodus, the thing this Fearless Leader preaches that should be protected even more than money, well, I kinda lost mine.
A weak excuse is that I have moved and my “packing routine” has been messed up. You might remind me that I did travel to Asia for three weeks, wasn’t that a passport trip? And you would be correct.
Here’s the truth. I always pack my passport safely away in my neck wallet/name badge and tuck it in my travel purse to be Good to Go.
As a last minute packer, I figure if I forget something or oversleep, I can buy everything except a passport. But this time, I did my preparation out of sequence; I packed earlier than usual, putting my pjs and walking shoes all in “Big Red,” the suitcase.
The morning we were to leave, I zipped my luggage, and about an hour before time to meet the group, I pulled out my passport holder, only to discover - no passport! Oh… no…
I take a deep breath and try to think “when was the last time I saw it?” I begin to search drawers and my desk and spots that little blue book might be hiding.
By now, I’ve confessed to husband Doug that I can’t find my passport because this is pretty important to find. He quizzes me on where it might be, I go through the purse from Asia, I dig through pockets of clothing in the closet. I even search the sofa cushions.
Oh, oh… it’s time to meet the travelers, Doug agrees to go and says he won’t tell them what a dumb dumb I am. By now, I’m sweating like crazy. My prayers are getting louder and more desperate. I give my “much older” sister a 911 call; she’s there in nine minutes and starts tossing my house.
I’m wondering if I could have had it in my hand and gotten distracted and laid it down? So we search bookshelves and the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom drawers. Julia asks what my “plan B” is and I whine “ I don’t have one!” and we dump out garbage cans and root through trash.
Me, the one who has plan B, C, & D for our travelers… don’t have one for me! I’m a wreck now, thinking about how to resolve this catastrophe. I pick up my purse to shove the contents back in from where I’ve searched them 17 times and I grab my wallet and open it.
Hallelujah! There’s my passport in my money wallet where I had tucked in some Euros a few days earlier! (I never do that!) I flew out of the house like a streak, caught up with the gang on the way to the airport. Oh my. I was embarrassed yet relieved. My angel was looking after me.
In Italy, we passed a cathedral dedicated to St. Anthony, the patron saint of lost items. I whispered a little “thank you” to any and all saints that might have had anything to do with my morning of insanity ending with a find.
Later that day we visited a small village where sat on the church steps and snapped a few photos as an Improv group performed.
Our group walked down a few narrow streets towards the bus parking. As we were waiting on the coach, a man on a bicycle pedaled quickly up to me. He spoke English and asked me if I had lost anything.
A bit puzzled but remembering, I blurted out, “My camera!” He had seen me taking pictures and saw I had forgotten the camera on the steps. He jumped on his bike and took a chance finding me to return it.
How about that?! A stranger, in another country, going to extra lengths to help this dumb dumb visitor. I thanked my saints and angels again. And again.
The end of our tour found us in Switzerland. Our adventure to go up Mt. Titlis was even more exciting because of the surprise snowfall. We weren’t prepared for this weather, but we bundled up in our jackets and some wore socks for gloves. Connie showed us the socks-now-mittens she borrowed from Betty. Hey, it worked!
Hours later on the trip down the mountain, roommate Mindy and I rounded a corner, and there was a stray sock. “Isn’t that Connie’s glove, Betty’s sock?” We picked it up.
At dinner that evening, it didn’t take long to hear that Connie was feeling sad about losing Betty’s borrowed sock. Mindy and I let her go on a bit before we produced the missing mate.
It was so fun, to think of the slim chances that we would have seen the silly thing going up in order to be able to rescue it coming down.
Three stories of the lost being found. Three happy endings. My lessons learned?
always pack your passport before your pjs
There are still good people in the world
It feels nice to be a good person in the world.
I appreciate all the heavenly help I can get.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.