What Happens AFTER Your Passport Is Stolen?


There's an expression: "when the wheels fall off."

Roughly speaking...it means something is falling apart.

To start this story, my wheels didn't fall off...at least not immediately

First they stopped rolling.

THEN they fell off.

I was rolling my 35-pound suitcase to the Barcelona cruise terminal when the suitcase wheels decided they had done enough turning and locked. It became necessary to carry that heavy dude as far as I could...switch arms, carry further...and then repeat...repeat...repeat. After twenty minutes of unwelcomed weight training, I made it to the luggage drop-off point.

Soon, however, locked suitcase wheels became the LEAST of my worries.

When I pulled my backpack off my shoulders to get my passport and travel information, I realized that the casual "bump" I had experienced earlier was not so casual. Everything that matters when one is visiting another country had disappeared: passport, all my credit cards, and all my cash. I had been hit be a pro. My Twilight Zone moment had officially begun.

Me: "My passport has been stolen."

Cruise supervisor: "I'm sorry. You can't board the ship without one."

Me (what I was saying): "You have to be kidding."

Me (what I was thinking): Unrepeatable and unprintable.

Two other details soon added more "weight" to the suitcase without wheels:

1) It was Sunday and the American Consulate was closed.

2) I had no phone.

It was time to start surviving.

Let's fast-forward 30 hours later...to NOW.

At this moment, as I write this week's blog, I am no longer in survival mode and I'm rolling again. I'm currently on a high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid to Malaga, Spain, trying to race the cruise ship to its last European stop before it begins its long journey across the Atlantic.

"I got this."

So what was my plan? Complete a whole series of baby steps that would eventually get me on the train I am on now.

1. I hitched a ride from the cruise terminal to Barcelona.

2. I navigated my way to a police station and filed a theft report.

3. I talked a café owner into using his Internet for two hours so I could research and create a plan.

4. I found a way to pay for a bed for the night using PayPal. (I had to cancel my credit cards and could not have money wired to me in Spain without a passport.)

5. I navigated my way in the dark through the Barcelona streets to an AirBnB.

6. I transferred money through PayPal directly to my evening's hosts so they could give me cash.

7. I managed to get to sleep at 2:00 a.m.

8. I woke up early and headed to the American Consulate to get an emergency passport.

9. And on...and on...and on. Until now.

The lesson in my "Amazing Race" real-life reality adventure?

Life only has permission to kick our ass...when we allow it to kick our ass.

Something got you down? Feeling a bit defeated and beat up in your own real-life reality show? Here's the simple formula I wrote down (and kept coming back to) as I pieced my jigsaw-like mess together:

1. Breathe deeply... and find your calm.

2. Think positively...and create a plan.

3. Take action...until each challenge is solved.

Every challenge is "figureoutable."

"YOU got this."

Inspiration Thursdays.
Short inspirational email sent every week.   It's free.  

First name
Last name (optional) 
Location (I would love to know where you're from!) 


Shawn Anderson                                                 (310) 402-4826                                  Shawn@ShawnAnderson.com