This post is part of a L’appel Du Vide feature, Misadventure Mondays. In each segment, I’ll ask one of my favorite travel bloggers to share one of their Travel Misadventures. This Monday, Dave Dean from What’s Dave Doing and Too Many Adapters shares his tale of loosing his passport while traveling.
Tell me a little about yourself and your current trip:
I was born and grew up in a small town in New Zealand, and it feels like I have been trying to get as far away from it as I can ever since! I’ve been travelling on and off for nearly 15 years now, and have no plans to stop. My current trip started six months ago, and I’ve spend nearly all of that time in Thailand. I’m about to head to Europe, the US and Middle East for the next six months, which will be an exciting – if expensive – change of pace! I’m now travelling indefinitely, so have no return date. I don’t even know where I’d return to if I had to!
Describe your travel style:
I’d probably best describe it as backpacker/flashpacker. I’ve carried a backpack my entire adult life and will opt for the 24 hour bus ride instead of 2 hours on a plane to save a few bucks, but I’ll also upgrade to a private room in a hostel sometimes if I’m sick of spending every night in 20 person dorms. I don’t bother much with guidebooks etc these days, and travel far more slowly than I used to. A week in one place is a bare minimum – a few months is much better.
What’s been your best/worst travel misadventure? Tell me about where you were, who you were with, and what happened.
Well I wrote a post about some of the stupid things I’ve done while travelling – and could probably fill an entire book – but the one that most sticks in my mind is the time I left my passport on a bus in Vietnam. It wasn’t even the first time I had done it – it happened several years earlier in Hawaii too – but it was much more traumatic this time. I was travelling by myself, on an overnight bus from Saigon to Nha Trang, and somehow when I jumped off in the morning my passport didn’t come with me.
By the time I realised and went back, the bus had gone and nobody nearby seemed to know anything about it. Had it not been for a helpful moto-scooter taxi driver there is no way that I would ever have got it back – I would have had to go back the 12 hours to Saigon, find the embassy and pay a small fortune to get a new passport. Not to mention waiting for however long it took to get it, in a country where you need a passport to even check into a guesthouse.
Even with my new friend’s help, it took several hours of riding around the city, many phone calls back to guesthouses and travel agents in Saigon, some nervous moments and a huge dose of luck, to finally retrieve it. Not an experience I ever want to repeat if I can help it.
What were the negative or positive outcomes of your misadventure?
The negative outcome was that I spent most of a day in Nha Trang getting stressed about my missing passport, and that my wallet ended up a bit lighter after paying my helpful driver for his assistance. The positive outcome was that I got my passport back at all, and my faith in humanity was restored after having being involved in a scam attempt back in Saigon a few days earlier.
What did you learn from this misadventure that you can share with other travelers?
Make sure that all of your valuables are exactly where you think they are as you leave the bus, train or plane. I had seen my passport literally two minutes before jumping down from my bunk bed, but I should have double-checked as I walked towards the door as well.
What’s the one other lesson you’ve learned on your trip that you wish you had known before you left?
Not so much on this trip, but in general – take a smaller bag. I started my travels with a 90 litre backpack and somehow managed to fill it right up. Now I use a 50 litre one and don’t feel that there is a single thing I need that I don’t have – in fact, I could probably go even smaller. The less weight I carry the easier my travels are, plain and simple.
Thanks Dave for sharing!
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