SINCE catching the travelling bug almost four years ago, I was proud of the fact that I’d never lost my wallet, phone, handbag, or anything of serious value during my travels. That was until this month when I lost my passport. At Amsterdam airport. When my plane was boarding.
My friends and I had spent hours in the departure lounge waiting for our delayed flight. We were tired and exhausted from a big night out in the party city the previous night, so the delayed 9.50pm flight only worsened the situation.
Finally, the gate number appeared on the screen and we casually made our way to the final checkpoint before boarding the plane. But when I reached into my bag to retrieve my passport and boarding pass, they were nowhere to be seen.
My heart started racing.
My friends and I scrambled through my bag, throwing its contents all over the floor, while other passengers overtook us in the queue.
They were definitely not there.
I dumped my bag with my friends and sprinted faster than I probably ever have in my life back to the departure lounge.
But in my anxious and panicky state I managed to run what felt like 1km in the wrong direction and found myself at the end of a corridor.
I approached some security guards, puffing like I’d just run a marathon, and tried to ask for directions, but the word ‘lounge’ wouldn’t come out — all I could produce was tears.
They managed to work out what I was trying to say and pointed me in the right direction.
I sprinted again and retraced my steps.
I dashed into the newsagency, where I’d been just 20 minutes earlier, but it wasn’t there.
Next, I bolted to the information desk, but it was closed.
I ran upstairs to the restaurant where we’d eaten dinner and thankfully, the little blue book and piece of paper which were more important than my left arm at that point in time had been picked up by the staff.
I could have kissed the waitress who gave them to me, if it weren’t for the fact that I was about to miss my flight.
I raced back to find my loyal friends eagerly waiting for me, and thankfully, we didn’t miss our flight.
Until then I was impressed with my record of not losing anything valuable while on holiday, and I guess I’d become complacent about it.
It seems this horrible, gut-wrenching experience was exactly the wake-up call I needed.