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5 Lessons I Learned from Losing My Passport 4 Hours Before My Vacation

By Adunola Adeshola

Four hours before my 6 a.m. international flight to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I realized I could not find my passport. 

Though the trip had been planned seven months ago and the tickets had been bought five months prior, it hadn’t dawned on me until it was almost time to head to the airport that I could not find my passport.

Long story short, I said good-bye to my friends at the airport and watched them race from check-in to security — without me, because of course I was unable to travel without the most essential traveling item.

After I missed my flight I realized I had two options: either I take the necessary steps within the next 24 hours to still make the trip or I give up and mourn over my irresponsibility. I chose the former and here are 5 things I learned from the headache of losing my passport.

1. YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR DESTINATION BUT YOU CAN’T CONTROL YOUR JOURNEY

In life, we all have goals and aspirations. The most persistent of us reach our goals and fulfill our dreams but it never happens the way we imagined it would or at the time we expected it should. I planned to go to Mexico months ago. I was so determined to get there that I bought my flight as soon as I could and I adequately prepared for my stay through various purchases and long work days prior to my scheduled departure. Yet, I wouldn’t have ever thought that I would ultimately miss my flight and spend the day absent from the trip I helped plan. Though the situation could’ve been avoided had I thought about my passport weeks or even days ago, I realized that you never know what life may throw at you at any moment.

2. ALWAYS SEARCH FOR A SOLUTION

After I missed my flight, I could have given up. I could’ve counted my losses and decided that I’ll just do better next time. But I’ve always aimed to be a problem solver so that resolution did not work for me. Instead, I researched how to replace my passport quickly and learned that there was a passport office in my city that specialized in emergency passports – thank God!

I discovered that I could receive my passport in less than 24 hours, if I was able to show proof that I needed my passport immediately. So, I bought a new flight to Cabo San Lucas as soon as I got back home from missing my flight, took a 30-minute nap, woke up, gathered the necessary documents and headed to the passport office. I learned that it’s better to try with the risk of failure then to never try at all.

“IT’S BETTER TO TRY WITH THE RISK OF FAILURE THEN TO NEVER TRY AT ALL.”

3. YOU ARE NOT ALONE IN THIS COLD WORLD

I spent nearly 9 hours at the passport office that day. I arrived at the passport office at 8 a.m. only to discover that the office does not open until 10 a.m. on Thursdays – just my luck. But to my dismay there were already about 10 people waiting in the lobby for the office to open.

Some with laptops, headphones and breakfast in hand to pass the time. I joined them and swiftly learned that I was not the only irresponsible soul on the planet. Some parents missed their flights because they forgot that their children’s passports expired.

A newly married wife woke up at 4:30 a.m. to drive 2 hours to the passport office in my city to renew her passport after realizing she forgot to change her maiden name moments before her flight. Another man missed his flight to Belgium due to the same reason and in the same exact way I missed my flight. I realized that there’s nothing you’ve been through that someone else hasn’t experienced.

4. REMAIN POSITIVE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES

It was a tough day ahead after misplacing my passport and missing my flight. I could’ve beat myself up and blamed myself endlessly but I opted to look at the bigger picture. I put things in perspective: missing my flight and ultimately my long anticipated vacation would not be the end of my world and would not be the worst thing that has or will ever happen to me.

I accepted the fact that I may not make my trip at all and at the same time I still visualized myself enjoying the beautiful scenery of Cabo San Lucas. I found a balance in the middle of the spectrum and chose to be happy regardless of the outcome.

This decision allowed me to actually appreciate the 9 hours I spent at the passport office. Had I not had this outlook on the situation, I wouldn’t have spoken to as many people as I did at the passport office and I probably wouldn’t have been able to learn as fast as I did from the experience.

5. WHATEVER SHOULD HAPPEN, WILL

I’m happy to say that after a wild day of emotions, stress and patience, I received my new passport and landed in Cabo San Lucas the next day.

The experience taught me that a rough road is simply just that – a rough road. The appearance of a rough road does not mean you should no longer attempt to walk on it. Instead, keep going.

Whatever is supposed to be yours will be yours. Whatever you’re supposed to become, you will become. Where ever you’re supposed to go, you will go. As long as you resolve to never give up, Providence will always find a way to give you what you were always meant to have.

When you’re determined to never give up, you will discover that whatever you were not meant to have will always lead you to what was always supposed to be yours.

“WHEN YOU’RE DETERMINED TO NEVER GIVE UP, YOU WILL DISCOVER THAT WHATEVER YOU WERE NOT MEANT TO HAVE WILL ALWAYS LEAD YOU TO WHAT WAS ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO BE YOURS.”

The experience was well worth it and made my vacation much more necessary. The lessons I learned inspired me to look at my personal and professional life differently.

But, with that said, I solemnly swear to never again wait 4 hours before my international flight to locate my passport – I could have gone without the heartache and anxiety.

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