I wond’r where our passports are? – Packing for our S.E. Asia and Australia adventure

It was 10 days before our escape, and everything seemed to be falling beautifully into place; we had some lovely tenants lined up for our flat, most of the laborious DIY chores were done and I was beginning to enjoy being unashamedly unemployed, or I was until being rudely woken (after 8am –  I know, how dare she!?) by Joella:

[spoken loudly with mild anguish] “Jonny, where are our passports – I can’t find them anywhere...?”

At first, my immediate thoughts were to ignore the evil demon seeking to end my well deserved slumber – but alas no, she continued with her inquisition:

[shouted at a deafening volume, threateningly] “Seriously Jonny, I’ve looked everywhere and I still can’t find them, where are they?

I replied with all the helpfulness and intellect I could muster so early in the morning: “I don’t know, you had them last“. This retort proceeded to go down like a shit sandwich. She stormed into the bedroom, denied that she had them last and demanded I get up to help her look. This is when I realised that we may have, quite possibly, properly lost our passports. As in we might not have been able to find them ever, ever again, or at least until after breakfast.

After jumping out of bed slowly crawling out of bed like a sloth, we proceeded to frantically search our enormous[ly tiny] one bed flat from top to bottom. Following 3 hours of looking, including in the fridge and oven, no luck. Nothing. Not even a note to say they’ve left, or a ransom letter to say someone’s taken them.

At that point we came to realise we’d better get on and book ourselves an appointment to source some new replacement passports. Annoyingly the passport office doesn’t provide a one day service for lost or stolen passports, just a one week fast-track option (though I’d argue one week isn’t really that fast), and the first available appointment was on Monday, 8 days before our scheduled departure. Still, beggars can’t be choosers, so we booked our £212 slot and sourced the forms from the post office down the road…

Annoyingly, a countersignatory is required when applying for a replacement to a lost or stolen passport. While thinking through which poor soles we’d bully into helping us, we discovered that apparently a ‘Compliance Executive’ at a national regulator isn’t an acceptable profession, but journalists, travel agents and photographers are (thanks Sam for trying though!). But on following up with the ‘journalist’ option, I learnt that “my mate who writes some blogs” probably doesn’t qualify him as one. Whatever, get with the 21st Century! Instead I’m left to rely on Joella’s cousin who’s a teacher – cheers Liam!

It’s amazing how a form designed to be so simple can cause such terror and confusion to those completing it; mostly due to the importance – we’d have no second chance if anything was incorrect, plus there’s always the cost implications too – no refunds are ever possible, for whatever reason. But the form doesn’t help matters either e.g. Some sections asks for surname first, and others for first name. One of our countersignatories got so worked up that they forgot their job title and work address!

Despite paying for the appointment and (probably) successfully completing the forms, I never truly accepted that we’d properly lost our passports, so refrained from reporting them as lost. Just as well: While searching for something completely unrelated (my camera charging cable, and yes, I did find it if you really must know), I caught a glimpse of something deep maroon, shimmering in the early-morning sun that was streaming through our bedroom window. With a jolt of excitement I lunged forward and lifted the muscat coloured items high above my head in celebration – our passports had returned, hallelujah!

Oh the shame! I soon felt a little sympathetic towards Joella’s embarrassment and accompanying remark towards my point, that we’d need to update everyone: “I wish we’d properly lost them now‘. But ultimately we  had our passports back – happy days, our trip was still on 🙂