I’m paranoid about losing my passport and finding myself stuck somewhere. Scanned copies of the info page stay in my backpack, computer bag, and cross-body purse. If I’m in transit, I make sure to have eyes on it once every hour and keep it in a zippered pouch or my hand.
So, I felt vigilant but prepared when I was leaving Rome last May.
My amazingly friendly and helpful Airbnb host drove me to the Trastevere station so I could take the commuter train to the airport.
So, I had my passport IN HAND.
I thanked my host. I walked to the ticket kiosk. I got a ticket for the next train to Fiumicino, walked across the lobby, down the stairs, and to the correct platform.
The trains arrive every 15 to 30 minutes, which meant I didn’t have to wait long. Just as I was waiting for passengers to exit the train I realized that the only thing in my hand… was my phone.
Just my phone. NOT my passport.
It wasn’t in either of the zippered pouches I keep it in. I spun in a circle to check the ground.
I didn’t see it.
Cue panic attack.
I could hear my own heartbeat.
Trying to stay calm as I retraced my steps was… difficult, to say the least. I asked if the bar employees had seen one laying around. They directed me to the police kiosk. I fully retraced my steps three times, eyes glued to the ground.
Just as I started looking around for the police, I see a group of people standing around. They’re holding the small leather square that is my passport cover. I think I almost fainted as I rushed up to them and thanked them profusely for picking it up off the ground. They’d been attempting to find me on Facebook using the info page.
Coming down off of that adrenaline rush, I think I almost fainted again on the train. This whole saga lasted half an hour, so luckily I didn’t miss my flight.
Honestly, I’d only been worried about missing out on my trip to the Netherlands… I knew I’d be able to get an emergency passport issued to get back home if necessary, but my short jaunt up North would have been extra expensive if I’d had to move things around and lose money I’d already paid for Airbnbs and tickets.
Maybe the moral of the story is to also treat your passport like a piece of luggage you’re going to check for a flight: Put something easily identifiable on or around it!
(Here’s my AirBnB referral code. You get $35 off your first booking!)