The logistics of travel always seem to be more complicated than at first outlook. A nine am flight simply means a full day in your new destination, until it is six am and you come to the realization that you’ve forgotten your passport midway through the drive to the airport. Charles De Gaulle is farther and more expensive to get to via car, than is Orly. The trains only start running at a certain hour. Each trip I’ve been on thus far, I’ve taken a lesson from. My recent travels to Croatia, however, proved just as troublesome as they were a discipline in truly mastering the ‘art of travel.’
Most of my airplane trips of the past 20 years have been national. In this case, I’ve gotten used to bringing just a state identification; my New Jersey driver’s license. I guess this habit transferred to my abroad travel habits, as I felt completely packed without even having thought about my passport the night before my flight. It was 20 minutes into the Uber drive that I remembered the state of being of my passport; in my safe, back at the dorm. I wonder what kind of karma intervened to help me remember it totally out of the blue, when I could’ve shown up to my gate without it. At this, I promptly asked my driver to drive back to my dorm, and texted my mother to tell her what happened; something I typically do only in situations of desperation. Such an intense feeling of anxiety crept into my mind that I considered giving up, missing the flight altogether, and going back to sleep in Paris. Not a totally bad idea, I’ll admit, but I felt obligated to try and not waste the money I’d already spent on flights and an Airbnb.
The support of both my mom and my Uber driver actually convinced me that I could make it, and that it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t either way. Once I arrived at CDG, my confused early morning brain walked around fervently for 20 minutes trying to find security for my terminal. At this point, I thought I really might have to just give up and get home. Alas, I found my place and got through security. Then, I had to pass a round of passport checks to get to my terminal. This realization came at the same time as boarding as posted on my boarding pass. I frantically asked an airport servicewoman if I could skip the line to make the last boarding call. She told me I would make it, and if not, to find her on the other side of the checkpoint. I did not have faith in this response. While I was speaking to her, a group of three travelers had just surpassed me in line. Naturally, as I finished my conversation with the airport employee, I pushed my way past them, back to my original spot, in a frenzy of airport anxiety. An exchange of angry broken French and English later, I remained in my spot in front of them, only to find out we were on the same flight. Yes, I made my flight, and my connection, and back from Croatia safely. I will never forget my passport again, but on my following trip, I forgot my wallet.