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What Not to Leave on a Train


This is the story of one of my worst rookie mistakes.

passport photosJust yesterday, I set off in the morning (yes, I actually left the apartment) to visit the Russian Consulate in Sydney. With only a month to go before I hit the road for 3.5 months, I need to get this visa process going… and fast.

So, I checked my docs, signed the forms and taped my not-so-excited looking passport photo in the designated box. After putting it all together in a secure black folder, I set off to catch my two separate trains to the Edgecliff suburb in Sydney.

Luckily, the sun was out — a pleasant change from this summer’s crappy weather — and I enjoyed my walk to the train station spurred by the anticipation of just getting the visa process started, that which has been a huge stress hanging on my back. The Green Square train was empty enough, so I had no trouble finding a seat right by the door in the atrium section which I find helpful when you have just one stop until your train change at Central.

The funny thing that I realized in this process is that I have never taken the train to Edgecliff before. When I got off at Central, I actually had to search to find my correct platform — funny, right?! I get there, to the platforms down a very, very long escalator, and casually wait the 5 minutes or so for the train to come, which is when my world came crashing down.

the black folder

My black folder all packed up.

Where was my folder?!

Wait, wait, I tell myself. I put my hands up and turn from side to side as if searching my body for… something. My bag hung on my shoulder, but I know that I didn’t have my folder in there — it didn’t fit! My stomach turned as I came to the realization that I did a major, major boo-boo.

I left the folder on the train!

As the reality sunk in, I turned back towards the escalators doing the stereotypical and extended, “Oh, shhhit… oh, shhhhhit!” that got louder and more defined for all to hear.

And then I ran… up the escalators, plowing past anyone in my way… but I don’t know why I was running because the train had already left about 8 minutes before. I didn’t know where I was going, or what I was going to do. What do you do when you leave something on the train?!

When I got up the escalators, I saw a CityRail worker at the ticket machines. I ran up to him out of breath and jittery proclaiming excitedly that I left a very important folder on the train.

“Ok, which train did you come from? That one downstairs?”

“No, no,” I said out of breath. I couldn’t even find the words to tell him with the anxiety of the moment coming over me.

“Ok, ok, where did you come from?”

I shouted out “Zetland”, to which he responded that there are no trains from Zetland. Right, I walk to Green Square.

“Green Square!”

“Ok, go to the platform and talk to the attendant there.”

I ran. I know, it’s not the end of the world, but the thoughts were going a mile a minute… because I was so dumb and made such a stupid mistake.

We were pushing time already with these visas and here I made the biggest f-up by LOSING the folder with the passport in it!

When I reached the control booth on the platform I got off at, the woman working there could see the urgency in my face. I swear I was so worked up that I had tears welling up in my eyes.

“I left a very important folder on the train!”

On the way there, I used my TripView app to pull up the routing of the train I was on, and we quickly saw that the train was pulling up to Wynyard.

“What was in the folder? Any money?”

“No money but my passport was in there! Mine and my boyfriend’s!

inside the black folder

Inside the black folder - both of our passports.

Yep, I had both mine and Patrick’s passports in the folder. Not only did I forget mine on the train, I forgot someone else’s. Such an awful feeling!

The CityRail worker questioned again that there was no money in it, which seemed relieving to her, but to me, that WAS money. Thoughts about the cost to get those replaced and then to expedite all of our visas over the following weeks, the cost to get new passport photos that already ran us $30 (I threw those in there, too, just in case), plus the added stress, was like a nightmare. And then, what happens if someone takes our passports?!

She phoned Wynyard and told the platform attendant to check the train for my folder and then call back. I was a nervous wreck waiting for the phone to call. It took so long to hear back, I was sure they didn’t find it.

The past few days have been really hard on me. I don’t think I had slept well in a week, and a lot of other crap was wearing me down. Of course, this had to happen on top of the drama, and I quickly blamed my lack of sleep to doing such a stupid, forgetful error.

And the wait continued.

* * * * *
What do you think? Did I get our passports back?

>> Read the outcome to this situation


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47 Responses to What Not to Leave on a Train

  1. Candice March 8, 2012 at 10:51 am #

    Damn you and your cliffhangers, Brooke! Damn you!

    • Brooke March 8, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      Haha, sorry Candice 😀 Everyone loves a cliffhanger.

  2. T-roy March 8, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    yeah I agree, f this keeping us on edge… JUST TELLS US WHAT HAPPENED because we spent the time to read it, not come back and read it again! lol

    • Brooke March 8, 2012 at 11:19 am #

      In time, my friend, all will be revealed.

  3. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) March 8, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    My guess is that you get the folder back … because otherwise why would you have taken a picture of it first if you didn’t know you’d have a reason to write about it? I say you took the photo when you got it back. Hope it turned out ok! What a horrible thing to have happen!

    • Brooke March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      Hmm, good detective work, but it doesn’t necessarily mean anything 😉 Perhaps I was planning on doing a post about the Russian visa process.

  4. Jason March 8, 2012 at 11:09 am #

    I was visiting family in Slovakia and took the train with my cousin . We got off, started walking home and after about half way to his house he realized that he left his laptop on the train. We went straight back to the station and they called to the next station to check for it. Lucky for him we had a first class cabin and nobody else had been in there yet. It was sent back on the next train to his town.

    • Brooke March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      So horrible! I bet for that time you both were freaking out!

  5. Charles McCool March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    I left my Flip camera on the train between Marrakech and Casablanca. Checked a couple of times with the Casablanca station. Never got it back. Lost some great stuff. Oh well, that’s the way it goes. Hope your passports are fine!

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      I think cameras and computers are always so sad to lose – sorry to hear you lost such great stuff! Where you playing with it on the train and leave it on the seat? Ugh

  6. D.J. - The World of Deej March 8, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Great cliffhanger…although my theory has already been said. I wouldn’t have taken a pic of a random folder unless there was a story to it:)

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      Haha, I often take photos of application packets and stacks nowadays, especially since I write about it. 🙂

  7. Lauren March 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    What mugshots, haha. I am truly scared of you two in these photos. What a crazy story.

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

      I hate passport photos because you can’t smile! We weren’t planning on getting them that day so we literally looked/felt like crap 😉

  8. Kristin March 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

    I agree with other commenters in thinking you got it back…because of you didn’t you probably wouldn’t have been in any state of mind to write this post! Anyway, I really really hope that’s the case! What a cliffhanger!

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

      Geez so many comments – perhaps I should do cliffhangers more often? 😉 You have no idea how awful this whole thing made me feel. Ever lose anything super important like this before?

  9. Tracey March 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    My thoughts as well. I was thinking what Kristen said…I would be in such a state if I didn’t get the folder back that I wouldn’t have been able to write a post. I also immediately thought about the photos as well. I think you took the photos after you got the folder back. I hope we are all right anyway. Heart attack!

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Yes, Tracey, heart attack! Ever done something like this before?

      • Tracey March 13, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

        Left a camera on a plane and reported it immediately at our next gate…never got it back. Also, when we lived in London we were halfway to the airport for a flight to France and realised I had left my passport at home. Those are the only two I can think of at the moment.

  10. Tony March 8, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    I reckon they found a black folder but it wasn’t yours. It contained a large sum of money and in the next post you’ll announce you’re quitting blogging in favour of a life in the Maldives 🙂

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

      Hah, if only the story had THAT happy ending!

  11. Tijmen March 8, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    This is definitely one of the worst things to leave on a train just before you leave on a big trip 🙂 I would have had a small heart attack if this would have happened to me.

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

      Haha, oh Tijmen, I pretty much did have one 😉 All I kept thinking about was how… how could I do such a stupid thing! Ever done something like this before????

      • Tijmen March 13, 2012 at 3:55 am #

        Never lost my passport or any other important papers. I do however have another experience when it comes to trains and small heart attacks. I had to go to the airport in Brisbane for a flight to Sydney and catch my connecting bus to Mildura. But when I arrived at the train station (still half a sleep), I took the wrong train. By the time I finally arrived at the airport in Brisbane my flight had already left. Stuff like that is also very bad for your blood pressure 🙂

        • Brooke March 13, 2012 at 8:08 am #

          Oh my god! Yes, that’s just as bad 😉 That’s something I wouldn’t put past Patrick doing, actually.

  12. Petra March 8, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    🙂 You got them back! I’m sure of it!
    …I’ve just remembered how stressful and adventurous was also my trip to get the Russian visa!

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

      Haha, even without the passport loss, getting a Russian visa can be annoying!!!! 🙂

  13. Tim Van Autreve March 9, 2012 at 12:49 am #

    Oh snap! A cliffhanger! I bet you got them back. Those Aussie’s are good folks.

    Your passport photos look like mugshots. At first I thought your rookie mistake was getting arrested.

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

      Bahaha! Never been arrested *knocks on wood*!

  14. David Ward March 9, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Great article! I, too, have left something valuable on a train..but i digress. I just started a new travel blog of my own and hope to get it noticed more, check it out. Enjoy hiking, traveling, culinary experiences, or just being straight up adventurous? Check it out!

  15. Someday I'll Be There - Mina March 9, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    GRRRR!!! :@
    WHY??!! lol
    I’m sure you found them though! (or atleast I’m hope so, as a happy ending fan :D)

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

      Hi Mina – had no idea this would cause so much anger, haha 😉 Ever lost your passport before?!

  16. Jade - March 9, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

    Ack! Scary! I have only lost my passport once… but not lost lost… just misplaced in my room, and I was in FULL panic mode! Scary!

    • Brooke March 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

      Haha, so hard to deal with missplacing something so important. Glad you got your passport back!

  17. Amanda March 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm #

    OH NO!!!! How stressful! I really hope there’s a happy ending to this story!

    • Brooke March 13, 2012 at 8:13 am #

      Stay tuned, Amanda! I’ll be revealing this week. 🙂

  18. David March 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm #

    I know that sinking feeling… Lucky that you thought of it soon enough and the attendants sounded helpful enough. I’m betting you got the folder back!

  19. bethany March 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    Oh NO Brooke! This is awful. I REALLY, REALLY hope you got them back!! I have my fingers crossed this turns out well.

    • Brooke March 13, 2012 at 8:11 am #

      Stress! I will be revealing in another post soon 🙂 Have you done something like this before?!

  20. Sheryll March 11, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Omg I have so much anxiety!!!! I hope you got your passports back!!!!

    • Brooke March 13, 2012 at 8:10 am #

      I’m so glad other travelers feel my pain. The lady at CityRail didn’t quite understand my anxiety at the situation. I’ll reveal in another post soon. Hope you never make this mistake! 😉

  21. adam March 13, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    totally was NOT expecting a cliffhanger! hope you got your passports back!

  22. Michael March 13, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    I would die if I lose something on the train, esp. when I have OCD. 🙁 That’s why I always hang on tight to my stuff and they have to be in plain sight and near me. All this giving me sweaty palms when on trains.

    I believe you would have got your documents back. Unless a document forger has gotten hold of them first.

    Then there are those things that we’ll never get back (or very very slim chance) – like electronic gadgets (iPod, cameras, tablets, laptops, etc), money/wallet, umbrella, lunch, newspaper, that LV bag, bouquet of flowers for a loved one, one’s Myer/David Jones shopping…

  23. Cornelius Aesop March 15, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    So did you get it did you get it? I would freak out too and I can completely to the escalating “oh shits”

  24. Cornelius Aesop March 15, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    ..sorry completely *relate* to the escalating “oh shits”


  1. Getting Back What You Left on a Train (hopefully!) | Brooke vs. the World - March 15, 2012

    […] Getting Back What You Left on a Train (hopefully!) Now, for the continuation on the story of whether or not I got our passports back after leaving them on a train in Sydney. […]

  2. Russian visa - Trans-Siberian Railway travel blog | It's good overseas - May 7, 2012

    […] to the Russian Embassy in Sydney to get hers and Pat’s Russian tourist visas. She had quite a story to tell about her experience that involved running, escalators, several train stations and a black folder. Do have a […]

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