How Losing My Passport Helped Me Find Love
At the start of the year, I vowed to make 2018 a year of travel, adventure and new experiences. I had been doing a pretty good job, but summer had arrived and I had yet to take a trip abroad. Knowing my deep desire to travel and the importance of crossing off bucket lists this year, a good friend of mine suggested we fly to Paris. It was my first time traveling to Europe and I could not be more excited for what was to come.
After a week in France filled with bounties of daily freshly-baked bread, wine and cheese, strolls by the Seine River whilst taking in all the staple sites of Paris, and a motorcycle ride to the abundant gardens of the Palace of Versailles, we opted for a quiet dinner on our last night.
Ready to call in early, I suddenly realized my purse had been taken along with my phone, credit cards, and passport. It was a logistical nightmare and I had to extend my stay in Paris for a few days. But after the initial shock and frustration of losing my belongings, I was able to find gifts in the extra moments in a city I have come to deeply love.
I found love in the traditional sense - from my traveling partner who offered everything under the sun to ensure my safety as I navigated foreign territory alone for a few days and friends afar whom I had reluctantly shared the situation with because I was embarrassed and genuinely wanted to know if I was okay.
But I also found love in more unexpected ways.
I found love as I willed myself to walk aimlessly in the streets of Paris. Love overwhelmed me as I discovered the most precious and thrilling sunset views, bought memorable souvenirs in limited French, and overheard the melodic blend of conversations and street musicians that took my breath away.
I found love when I gave myself permission to move on and make the most of an unfortunate situation and grace to be less than perfect. When I allowed myself to take literal steps forward and explore the city and decided not to wallow in my circumstances. I found love in the unexpected journey that is still continuing.
In the midst of complete loss, I was inundated with acts of love and kindness from strangers and friends that I wouldn’t have experienced otherwise. Love so tangible and transformative, it expanded my heart for people, diverted paths, and an acceptance for things I can’t control or change. Love that made it possible to taste and see a new city in a rare and fleeting way due to the simplicity of having no plans and a feeling of relief and gratitude.
While traveling in Paris, I lost my passport and a sense of security. However, in losing these things, I experienced an overflow of love - through the beauty and unfamiliarity of a city, in material provision and support in a time of need, and in unexpected moments of calm worth savoring.
There are still times where I wince at the reality of an unfortunate blip in the most wonderful week of travel bliss, but I hold onto love that was found through what was lost.
I don’t want to hold too tightly where there is so much more love to be found.