I have a confession to make: I’m a terribly disorganized traveller. I’ve been known to show up at the airport at the wrong hour (oh who am I kidding, it was the wrong day) book hotels in the wrong city, and even, one dreadful time, lose my passport and money.
The passport fiasco happened last year. I was headed to Mexico where I was meeting up with my friend Judy who’d already arrived. When I landed in Puerto Vallarta, I shared a taxi van to Sayulita with a Canadian family I’d met in line at customs. Mid-way to our destination, we pulled into a big box grocery store. I decided to pass the time by push-riding a shopping cart around the parking lot (naturally). What I didn’t know was that my gleeful shopping cart ride dislodged my passport wallet from my back pocket. It fell to the ground in the parking lot and I kept riding away, having a grand time.
When we arrived in the small fishing village where I was staying, I reached into my back pocket for my passport wallet (oh, which also contained my money, credit cards and the name and address of where I was staying). You know that awful feeling when you’ve lost something reallyyyyy important? That deep stone in your stomach feeling? Yeah, I got that.
The sweet family I’d shared the cab with were as helpful as could be, but the fact was, it was dark out, there was no cel phone reception, my money and passport were gone, and I didn’t even know the name of my hotel. We dug frantically through the cab: no luck. I convinced the cab driver (in broken Spanish) to take me back to the grocery store—he did, but no luck.
The family insisted I spend the night with them; the wife slipped me some pesos and the grandfather poured me a shot of scotch.
The next day I found an internet café and tracked down my (frantic) friend Judy. Together we went to the Canadian consulate. May I see a photocopy of your passport?” the agent asked first. Uh, nope. “Other ID?” Not really. “Okay, I need your emergency contacts back home. We need people to verify who you are.” Well okay, but tracking down those phone numbers and addresses is going to take a little while…
The entire week of my “vacation” was spent running around getting an emergency passport created. The fact that I had no record of my original passport was a real sticking point. The fact that I didn’t have addresses and contacts for people who’d swear I was, in fact, me, was another huge bump in the road. Eventually I got my document, just in time to leave.
Nowadays I keep all my critical information—passport copies, birth certificate, copies of visa card numbers and emergency contacts—together in one place, on my Tyze network. If I’d have had a Tyze network at the time of this debacle, things would have been so much easier to sort out. I’d have been able to produce a copy of my passport and reach all my important contacts with one simple message. And maybe, time for a Mai Tai on the beach!!
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