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How losing my wallet saved my Europe trip


I spent all day shooting photos around Stockholm.

This is not unlike most days I spend while traveling abroad. And when I turned on the street for the hotel, I felt a finality to a good day. I relaxed horizontally on a couch to rest for a few moments, heavenly. A few moments into my slumber, my hand reached down to my right front pocket which felt surprisingly light. That's when my world fell apart. Seeing a fair bit of panic the old Swedish man sitting across from me near the fireplace asked me something in Swedish. "I think I lost my wallet..." From restful to panic in only a few moments.

You never quite realize how important the items in your wallet are, until they are lost. Money, identification, credit cards, freedom to engage in activities while abroad. I quickly ran through in my mind the companies I'd have to call and plead to somehow send me a new card, or getting someone to wire me some money so I could continue. I've run up to the front desk, asking if they've seen my wallet. We all chatted before I left for my photo morning, and no one has seen it. Rachel, one of the women who works behind the counter started to help me think through where I had been, and could it be in my bags? or left in the room perhaps? We walk to the baggage area, and as I checked both bags I had left, nothing.

Our conversation going up to the room was hopeful, and that wasn't coming from me, but my partner who could prod me into thinking different. Entering the room, I instantly know that it isn't here, I retreat and look anyway. As I'm opening the cupboards and closet spaces, I glance at the safe. And then it hits me.

My passport is still in this safe.

Upon leaving the room, I tell Rachel that I haven't found my wallet. And she suggests one more check of my bags. I'm not hopeful.

Upon looking through my bags, I have a sinking feeling that this is going to be a painful final 2 1/2 weeks. And then I reach into my jacket pocket and find a bottle of baby powder.

BABY POWDER! I just bought this down the street!

I couldn't run to the Apotheket fast enough, and as I sail into the shop, looking to my left, I ask about my wallet. We say the name in unison and we all breathe a sigh of relief together. I thank them profusely, and start my trek back to the hotel. I do have a plane to catch after all.

For fun, I walk into the hotel with a down face and a somber look, one of the girls asks immediately upon recognizing me if I had found the wallet. She reads no in my face, and I finally pull out the wallet and we all laugh in relief.

So, if it wasn't for buying the powder and losing my wallet, I would likely have not had my passport and missed my flight. And if I hadn't checked my bags a second time, I wouldn't have grazed my hand over the bottle of baby powder and remembered where I left my wallet. And without the help of strangers in a strange land, the whole thing would have been much more difficult.

As I sprint with my bags from Terminal 2 at Arlanda Airport to Terminal 5 and round the corner to my gate, I'm beaming with happiness. People inherently are good natured and want to help you. And your mind is quite brilliant, if you choose to pay attention to what it's telling you.