For the last ten years, I have always known when my passport was going to expire.

21 July 2015 has been etched indelibly on my mind ever since I last renewed it – the pain and relief I associate with the last time I renewed it a permanent reminder of when my occasionally haphazard organisation caused me (and various very gracious others!) a whole lot of grief!

Here’s what happened ten years ago…

The summer of 2005 marked the end of Freshers Year at university – an experience successfully traversed with a studying life fairly well-established, a job to return to and a home relationship to maintain. All was well.

To get away (Newquay 2005 didn’t count as a “summer holiday”!), I had been invited by my then girlfriend’s parents to join their family on a trip to Sweden in their motorhome. This sounded great! A brand new country to visit, an opportunity to go away for two weeks and even the promise of a first ever plane ride at the end of it to look forward to. (My Canary Isles experience as a two year old doesn’t count either!)


I was due to be picked up on the morning of Thursday July 21st, packed and ready for my two weeks away. As I loaded my suitcase up at 6.30pm the night before, I ambled upstairs to fetch my passport from my dad’s filing cabinet, where it was safely stored. My mum had wisely said; “Go get your passport ready and we’ll check everything’s alright.”

To my horror, it was patently obvious when I flicked it to the page of my fourteen year old face…EXPIRED. I was going nowhere.

Ice cold dread and frustration scuttled down my spine. How could I have been so stupid? So disorganised and chaotic as to not check my passport? I’d known about Sweden for six months! And now, with the motorhome leaving in 12 hours, I would not be allowed to leave the country.


First job was to ring up the family I was going with and ‘fess up. They were really gracious with me – inside surely they were seething! There was no way I’d be on that motorhome. Was there an alternative chance of making it to Sweden instead?!…

Tomorrow’s post will reveal whether or not my summer plans (and relationships!) were left in tatters!