It was the eve of our departure to Berlin and I was finally in New York – exhausted. It had been quite a hectic few weeks as my two partners at work had taken staggered vacations and it was quite busy. I was routinely getting home after 9pm and hardly sleeping at night. But I had taken the time to start to prepare for the upcoming Europe trip. I did the laundry, sorted out piles of clothes from which I would later choose, printed out itineraries and confirmation notices, and checked my passport to make sure that the visa was still in it.
Yet, I was up all night the day before my departure to New York, packing, packing, and packing. I placed my folder of travel documents in my handbag and it was smooth sailing to New York by plane…
So now it was the eve of our departure to Berlin and I was finally in New York. I had relaxed all afternoon and now it was my sisters’ turn to complete their last minute packing. Bored, I decided that I too would do one last “packing” – after all I was going with a roller-board that would require check-in and it felt awfully heavy as I’ve travelled with carry-on luggage only since my trip to Ghana in 2008.
It was thus about 9:20 pm when I flipped through my passport and to my horror saw nothing familiar. Why is my picture page not in the back? Why do I look so young? Where are all my recent travel stamps and most importantly, my Schengen visa?
OH MY GOODNESS!
It dawned on me that I had picked an old passport but how, and when, and WAIT, does that mean my current passport is 350 miles away from me?
OH MY GOODNESS!
We were to leave for the airport at noon the following day, and oh my goodness, how am I going to get my passport? Fatigue was quickly replaced with trepidation and palpitations and finger counting. Let’s see, I could get a car. Yes, I will drive. How long. 8 hours? NINE?! Oh my goodness, and 9 hours back. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, this is not happening.
My sister and her boyfriend (let’s call him Cliff) were in my presence watching the manifestations of these little revelations unfold. He offered his car, and they offered to accompany me on this impromptu road trip. ROAD TRIP, they exclaimed excitingly. And all I could think about was but how, where, how is my passport not with me?
I was going to drive but the car was unfamiliar to me, it was dark (I’m pretty sure I have poor night vision), and I was too nervous. So my sister’s boyfriend drove. It was actually jovial. We laughed at the ridiculousness of our (MY) situation. His plan had been to chill, and now he was hurling down the road on a 14+ hour roundtrip road trip. Bless his soul. And I’m thinking what if all this is in vain? What if my passport is not at home? WHAT THEN?!
I drove for about an hour but was having difficulty seeing so we switched places again. We finally made it to my place where I found my current passport with all the others. RELIEF! Quick bathroom break and off we were again. I meant to do the drive back. It was going to be getting light outside soon anyway so I should be fine. But I faced dark roads again with
heavy rains. Cliff, who was rightfully knackered, kept asking if he should relieve me when he would occasionally wake up and I kept thinking “don’t be silly, you just drove all the way here for me, I’m not going to let you drive another 7-8 hours solo”. So, on I pressed. Us alone on the dark solitary road. The rain had stopped. Cliff was sleeping in the front passenger seat. My sister, who slept in the back for the majority of the trip, was actually awake singing along to Estelle’s American Boy playing on the iPod connected to the car’s multimedia system.
Next thing I know, my sister is screaming repeatedly ‘oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness’ and I’m driving on gravel (off the road) thinking oh my goodness, this is it, I’m going to kill us all, and Cliff’s voice comes through – ‘don’t turn the wheel’ don’t turn the wheel’ and somehow I follow and the car comes to a neat stop. I DOSED OFF!!!!!!!!! I freaking dosed off. What on earth is wrong with me?! This trip is not meant to happen. It just isn’t meant to happen.
Needless to say, Cliff drove the rest of the way back. We reached at 11am where we calmly told everyone that we just drove 700 miles to pick up the correct passport.
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