An unexpected trip

by Pauline on July 7th 2016

Tweeting on Monday, “This week is the week” I hadn’t realised that it was going to turn upside down real fast.

Travel-wise, anyway.

It all started on Tuesday, I was planning to meet a friend and wanted to take some pictures for the day, so I went to get my camera where I usually put in a drawer with other “everyday” things. Opening it, I was mortified to find that everything was soaking wet. I kept some letters, notes, camera, my passport and usually my bullet journal (but I was using it so thankfully it wasn’t in there at the time.)

I realised that my laptop cleaner spray top broke and spilled all over everything in the drawer including, yes, my passport (and camera, but it’s a robust little guy!)

Trying to be all optimistic, I repeatedly tried to convince myself that it’s okay, it’s not THAT bad, they’ll let me on the plane, I can get my nice golden tan and be near the ocean eating fresh fruit…

After asking my friends, sister, parents and the post office people, this all came crashing down.

With my travels on the 20th,  I needed a new passport comfortably before then. After much research (and ice cream) I found that I had to visit to a passport office to get a new passport sorted out.

The closest passport office to me is at Liverpool but they hadn’t any appointments available that day, so I ended up booking one at Peterborough.

I hadn’t heard of Peterborough before I started working at my current job, I had a colleague who told me about it as her hometown and how no one in the world ever knows if she’s making it up or not ? To put it in perspective, it is close-by Cambridge. I’m now awaiting the “ahhh” moment from everyone.

Luckily, I got my train tickets really cheap and left my city just in time – it was forecasted to be rainy (just like every day, I suppose.)

Peterborough Cathedral Square

You’d imagine me to be pretty stressed out and on the verge of having second thoughts on my holiday but surprisingly, I was pretty calm about the whole situation. It was mostly my parents who freaked out.

I kept reminding myself to breathe with the constant thought of “It was an accident, there’s no point dwelling on the past to try and prevent it when all you can do is find a solution” It’s times like these that I have really seen a difference in my life since starting meditation! I am more thoughtful rather than jumping into irrational decisions and emotions. Yay for visible improvement.

Once I got off at Peterborough, I rushed to the office, got it sorted in under an hour (honestly the fastest and friendliest service I’ve ever had), was reassured more than twice that my passport would be with me by next week and then explored the city before my train back.

Let’s make this a positive, stress-free memory

Despite the incident, I wanted to make my trip worthwhile and see much as I could even though the main objective was to go to the passport office.

One of the most iconic places in Peterborough is the cathedral. When I got there, there were groups of kids on a school trip. Their teacher was explaining the history of the cathedral. I was close by to the group so got an earshot of a history lesson as I took pictures.

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One thing I can’t forget the teacher saying was that parts of the cathedral were deliberately set on fire at one point. A kid then asks, “Where? I can’t see any burnt parts?” Where later discussions followed that were along the lines of, “It’s a cathedral Ben, not toast.” Ah, the life of a Y7.

The town was quite small but it meant things were closer together so I bet shopping is easier! I really like the “old England” style throughout the city centre. I always find it interesting and sort of fun seeing branches of stores surrounded by different architecture (like the bank below) giving off a different vibe from the outside at least.

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I had a lovely walk around the town centre and surrounding areas, also did some last minute holiday shopping whilst I was there. I enjoyed the day and was happy to successfully turn an initially stressful day to a positive memory! Hopefully my shiny new passport arrives next week so I can tick that off my worry list ?

I guess I’m somewhat happy this happened because I got to change my 16 year old passport photograph (where I had a draw my eyeliner on with fat black crayon phase) into something much more decent and more current i.e. an improvement of the eyeliner game.


Have you ever damaged your passport before you were to travel? (I’d love to hear stories/experiences on this, I read some interesting ones on TripAdvisor ha!)


Posted under: Explaw, Life



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28 comments

  1. Tara says:

    Nope, I never damaged my passport. It’d be a nightmare for me, since I already live overseas, and dsfkjajksfdlkjfdsaljkf. Let’s just say I’d not have taken it calmly like you have.

    It’s good you were able to escape to a new place. Granted, Liverpool would have been closer, but since you’d never heard of Peterborough until recently, seems logical to take advantage of the situation and explore a new area! 🙂

    The ye olde England architecture really appeals to me. I’d love to have seen those in person myself. if I ever make it to England, I’ll definitely keep Peterborough in mind ^^

  2. Ongaku says:

    Yikes! That is a bad way to start, but it is a good thing you were able to keep your calm about all of it. Also, it is awesome how friendly they were about getting you a new one. I honestly have never even owned a passport. orz Someday! lol

  3. Oh jeez! I hate when stupid stuff like that happens. At least your journal and your camera are fine! Shame on the passport, but at least it got sorted out! I would of been panicking! At least it seems your meditation is helping! =3

  4. Cassidy says:

    Thankfully, I’ve never damaged my passport, let alone before going abroad.

    But I’m glad you were able to take an errand like that and turn it into a memorable outing. I love the pictures and the town is definitely something that I’ll have to hit when/if I got to England

  5. Kimmy says:

    I know exactly how you feel. Whenever something inconvenient happens, or something gets messed up I immediately turn to worry/irrationally upset mode. It’s terrible and I’m sure I’ve lost years off my life because of this horrible habit of mine.

    But how wonderful it is to live in a place where you can travel somewhere new with historical architecture. In my city, we have a few beautiful buildings but nothing is preserved anymore. I’m glad you were able to turn this into a huge positive. 🙂

  6. Alice B says:

    oh shoot. I’d freaked out if that happened to my passport, but even if I was shocked, I wouldn’t start screaming in frenzy. I’d imagine that to be a reaction from my parents, especially my mom since she’s more of a “can’t keep calm” type. but thankfully, I don’t keep my own passport myself so nothing like that will ever happen.

    my friend who does meditation also say that it does help a lot, especially if we have anxiety / depression. I probably should try it but I’m too temperamental to sit down for hours, inhale exhale and just meditate. it’s the same with yoga. I’ll never do them, at least not now because I just can’t stand having to stay still and breathe in-out :))

    even though I’ve never been to Peterborough (heck, I’ve never been to england!), i can say that it looks like an interesting, tranquil place.

  7. Nancy says:

    Oh no! I ‘m sorry to hear that the cleaner got all over your things. I’m glad to hear that you found an alternative and won’t let this event stop you! I can imagine the second thoughts; especially with this happening last minute. Accidents happen and we need to do our best to mitigate the problem. Good to hear that you made the trip worthwhile! I really commend you for turning something negative to a positive experience the best you can :)! This is the type of people that will succeed!

    I haven’t damaged my passport before travelling before, thankfully.

  8. Holly says:

    This reminds me of when I had to go to Oxford for a doctors appointment. I made the most of my time there considering it was so far away from where I live.

    It’s a shame that there weren’t any appointments available in Liverpool because it’s such an awesome city to looking around. 😉 But Peterborough looks nice too.

    • Pauline says:

      I wanted to go to Liverpool after seeing Georgie’s instagram photos and of course, learning about it through your blog. Not to mention it’s closest but Peterborough is equally beautiful! 😀

  9. Cat says:

    Oh no, that is a travel worst nightmare! I would have panicked if I saw my passport ruined so close to a trip. I’m glad you found a passport office that had available appointments and was able to get that sorted out. That’s a good idea to make the best of the trip and explore the city too. I love the old look of the buildings!

    I’ve never damaged or lost my passport, but I’m always paranoid about it. I did renew my passport close to a trip, but only because my work asked me to go on the trip after I had already sent it off. Fortunately, I got it back in time!

  10. Kya says:

    That would have been so awful to find that everything was wet and that you had to change the passport. I think it’s wonderful that there has been an improvement from doing the meditation and that your reaction was not as extreme as it could have been before. It’s also lovely that you explored a bit and the photos look so pretty. 😀

  11. Jamie says:

    Sadly, I’ve yet to purchase a passport. Though, it might happen some day. I can just feel Tristan and I visiting his grandfather and grandmother out in Mexico City (his grandfather married a woman from Mexico). In fact, Tristan and I are way over-due for a visit. It’s just school has taken up our time, literally speaking. How much are passports anyways? Or does it depend on where you live?

    I’m glad you were able to keep calm during this whole thing. I also like to believe that because we are getting older we are maturing as well. Honestly, if that were to have happened to me years ago when I was younger, I think I might have freaked out. Then again, everyone is different right? I’m also glad you were able to make a trip while visiting a new town. It’s always exciting to visit a new town or city you’ve never been to before. I really love the feel to the Cathedral. It feels ancient and the exterior looks ancient as well. Honestly, I’ve heard of a Cathedral being burned down because of someone not liking books or something? Or do I have something mixed up with another story?

  12. Rezina says:

    The Cathedral is really pretty! Do you know what the name of it was? And LOL “It’s a cathedral Ben, not toast.” That’s so great lmao.

    I’ve never damaged my passport before (only because I never use it) but I’ve had things spill in my bag and backpack ALL the time. Outside and inside. One time I spilled my perfume bottle inside my bag and I had to throw away some of the things that were in there.

  13. Pim says:

    I sent you a message via contact form. I guess you’re still busy on your trip thing that you can’t answer back yet. Its kind of important. Be safe on you trip.

  14. Georgie says:

    I didn’t damage my passport but a few years ago when I went to Japan, I had to rush to get my passport done because the expiry date was less than six months from the day I was travelling. Some countries don’t allow that, so you have to have a lot of validity on it. I wanted to change my passport photo to a nicer one but I actually got a much uglier one where I didn’t look like I was smiling (I looked like a serial killer), I looked tired, and my hair was a mess because you have to show your ears in the photo. I hate passport photos so much!

    I’m glad you were calm and not in a panic. 🙂 When we almost missed the Eurostar we were very physically calm, I was just reminding myself inside that it was OK, and it’s true – what is done, is done. Some people still continue to panic and say ‘you should have done x!!!!’ My mum is like that a lot. I don’t know how to make her calm down, it’s too late to go back and change what I did. 😛

  15. Jean says:

    So sorry to hear about your passport but wow I do adore you for being positive amidst of all what happened. I think I need to start meditating too. I often make irrational decisions that leads to regrets and fustrations. Peterborough is a nice place. i like the architecture and wow I never thoguht it is a bank? For me they look palace lol XD

  16. Thao says:

    Ahh passport damage is one of my many fears! I keep mine in a ziplock bag for that reason. But there definitely have been times when I’m not exactly sure of its location…I also have a huge fear of losing it while abroad.

    That’s great that you got to make a trip out of a stressful event. And omg those pictures are so nice! I wish I could take building/scenic pictures like you. And that giant portrait of the Queen! Ahh! Love it!