My trip to Italy (or, how to get your passport renewed in less than 24 hours)

 

Rome!

If you picked Italy as my most recent vacation destination…then congratulations!  You are right.  Want to get more specific?  We traveled to Florence, Venice, and Rome.  And it was beautiful, and amazing, and any other superlatives you want to throw in there.    

Before I get to the Italy tales, I have a story to share about 24hours leading up to our departure.  We left on a Wednesday.  I purposely lightened my Monday and Tuesday schedule to allow ample time to pack and prepare. I’m not a great traveler, but I find that if I overly prepare, my anxiety can be minimized.  I still may need some pharmaceutical assistance for the plane ride, but overall am much more pleasant to be around. 

Jump to Tuesday evening (remember, we were scheduled to leave Wednesday at 5:30pm.)  I’m feeling good!  I have almost everything ready for the trip.  I know I have all day Wednesday to pack, which will be the last thing I need to do.  I’m even teaching my Pilates class on Wednesday morning & seeing clients.  Look at me!  I’m good to go!  Until I hear PJK yell downstairs to me…

“Darcy, I need a second set of eyes on this.”

He too is preparing; pulling all of our train and tour tickets together.  He is also gathering our passports. 

You know where I’m going with this…..he needs a second set of eyes on a passport expiration date.  My passport expiration date.

“Darcy, your passport is expired.” 

“What?  No, it’s not.  It expires September 2013”  Why is he stressing me out?  I’m overly prepared for this trip.  I’ve left nothing to chance. 

Both of us looking at my passport:    “Darcy, it expired September 13, 2011.” 

My actual passport expiration date

PANIC!  SHEER PANIC! (And some hysterics.)

I don’t remember many details after that.  I’m crying, I’m praying, I’m angry, I’m sad.  There has only been one other time in my life that I have exhibited the type o f behavior on display Tuesday night:  it was when I overslept for an Anatomy/Physiology exam in college.  But that was just a test…this is Italy….this is my trip of a lifetime!

In true PJK fashion, he stayed calm and took control of the situation.  Made some phone calls, was on the computer.  The next thing I know  I’m being told to wash my face and get myself together because we are going to get passport photos taken.  No passport photo looks good, mine looks especially horrific as I’ve been full-on weeping in the hour immediately prior to the click of the CVS camera.  But a passport photo is one step closer to real-live passport!  I feel a little better. 

After a restless night, several tearful phone calls and emails cancelling any plans I had for Wednesday I found myself at the Passport Office downtown DC (thank goodness we live in a major city.)  I was there 2 hours before they opened.  Trying to stay calm.  Ensuring I was first in line since I didn’t have an appointment. Telling myself everything was going to be okay. 

It pays to get there first!  I was through the doors at 9am, up to the counter with my request:  I mis-read the date on my passport, it’s expired and I have a plane to Italy to catch tonight at 5:30pm.  Please, please help me. 

Their response:  “I can see how you thought it expired 2013 if you just glanced at it.  You are lucky your plane leaves tonight.  You’re not going to be early to the airport, but you’ll make it.  Come back at 1:30pm, it should be ready by 2pm.” 

SHEER JOY!!  If there wasn’t glass between us (and I knew I wouldn’t get arrested), I would have hugged and kissed that man! 

As promised, my passport was ready by 2pm.  That gave me just enough time to drive back home, be picked up by our friend, and driven to the airport to make our flight….just in time! 

Moral of the story:  if flying international, make sure your passport is current.  If it’s expired, plan to go to your nearest passport office (be the first one in line), with your completed renewal form, old passport, and proof that you are leaving that day.  Oh, and be nice, it’s not their fault you can’t read expiration dates. 

Also, can you imagine if this discovery had been made at the airport rather than the night before???  (Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest girl in the world!)

Top of the Duomo in Florence

 

~Darcy
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4 Responses to My trip to Italy (or, how to get your passport renewed in less than 24 hours)

  1. Mcmahon Susie says:

    OMG Darcy! Your story made me run to my passport just to check.. My heart is still pounding just from reading.  You must have had a good bank account of Good Karma saved up!  I am so glad that worked out.  I am living with a bad passport picture too.  There is no escaping that.  Your travel pictures are great!  I hope we get to see more…

    • LOL! Good Karma is an understatement! I still can’t believe everything worked out in my favor. You know, the passport agency really should send out notifications of upcoming expirations, just like the DMV does. Oh, and there are more Italy photos to come….I took about 400! It was all so beautiful!

  2. Chris@chrispins says:

    Wow Darcy!  I’m glad you had a great trip. I’m totally jealous!!!  

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