No matter how much you plan, pack, and think about a trip, you can never be ready for the unexpected. Last night, the unexpected happened to me.

Some probably call me “loca” because I can’t stand things left undone, I love to plan, and always have a long to-do list. I’m usually prepared for any weather or other disaster that might strike, often carrying a bag around that contains way too much stuff simply out of fear of forgetting something and not knowing where my feet may take me for the day. As I was getting ready to leave for my trip to El Salvador, like always, I organized what I needed to pack, eventually crammed everything for the trip in my father’s wonderful hiking backpack, and waited for the moment to get on the road to the airport.

Maybe I should have checked my bags an additional time, but I thought enough was enough and arrived at the airport more than three hours prior to departure. As more of my team members showed up, we decided to go about our group check in. When asked for my passport, I quickly got out my travel purse and reached in to grab my passport…can you guess what I found?

Nothing. My passport wasn’t there. Fear gripped me and I couldn’t find anything but bad words piling up on the tip of my lips (some of which definitely escaped). I couldn’t believe it! This had never happened to me before. In the last minute hassle at home that afternoon to scan-in my passport for our airline travel agent, I had ended up leaving my passport in the scanner. Well, though I still had lots of time before take-off, I wasn’t a simple walk away from home. No, I was at the San Francisco International Airport, which is 1.5 hrs away if you don’t run into any traffic.

Luckily I was saved by my dear friend Catherine whom I am so grateful for. She was able to coordinate a pick-up of my passport from my sister Mia, and rushed to save me from missing my flight. Thank you sooo much Catherine and her great co-pilot GUS (her dog) for making it just 10 minutes before the boarding time!

So, lesson learned…don’t let other events distract you to the point that you leave things unfinished (in my case it was leaving the passport in the scanner). Always see things through to the end, and stay calm when things don’t go as planned! Most importantly, friends are the best thing in the world. Without them, you are left to your own fate may it be good or bad.

…in the meantime…red eye flight from SFO to San Salvador…hope to catch some sleep!

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