Houston, We have a Problem…


The past year has been a bit crazy. Lot of travel from Finland to half a dozen other European countries. One such travel was to Switzerland for which I was to fly to Munich, Germany and then my boss, JK and I were to take a rental car and drive to Zurich for an important meeting. Straight forward plan..what can possibly go wrong? Turns out there was.

My travel started with a train journey from Vaasa to Helsinki and then a direct flight to Munich. Smooth..no problem. I checked-in at the kiosk and while at security I realized. .my passport was missing. Realized later that it was left behind at home. Great. What now? Called JK and..

Me – I don’t think I can travel. My passport is missing. I only have my Residence Permit.
JK – oh no. Have you checked-in?
Me- Yes.
JK- you may not be asked for a passport at boarding. Try. Call me and tell me whether or not you boarded.
Me- sure.

20 minutes later.

Me – boarded. Phew.
JK – very good. We’ll leave in the morning. I’ll call your hotel when I reach.
Me – cool. See you in Munich.

Stage 1 – cleared.

Reach I did and took a train to reach my hotel. Boss called.

JK – where are you now?
Me – on my way to the hotel. Why?
JK – I have a situation.. I’m not coming to Zurich..you go alone. Rental car is booked. you can go there straight away and pick it up.
Me- what? All thats ok but the rental car guys too will ask for passport.
Boss – no problem. We have a contract there. You only have a few papers to sign. I’ll text you the address.
Me – ok. Will call you if in trouble.

Landed at the Europcar office and  Picked up an Audi A3 with no hassles.

Stage 2 done. Called the boss

JK – we’re not done yet. You have to pass through Austria and then to Switzerland ..the border police check most cars and obviously its passengers for their passports and visas. This is still trouble zone.
Me – what then?
JK – be confident while passing through and let’s hope you don’t catch their attention and get into trouble. Call me and let me know if you got through or got jailed.
Me – hmm. Try I should.

And as luck had it, I did manage to pass through without any trouble. Phew. What a journey this has been. Drove on to Zurich. I was later told by JK that the return would be trouble free as nobody checks for passports.

Stage 3 – cleared.

Return journey to Munich, as expected , was no trouble. I had my fair share of fun on the Autobahn.
Later the return journey to Helsinki was also event-free.

Looking back, I know that I could’ve gotten in trouble in several places. I’m glad I managed without getting caught.

Note to self – make a checklist to ensure I take passport for all my travel. Aye aye.

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