I’m imploding my life. Quitting my job. Selling everything I own. Dropping out. I’m fine. This is fine.
More on that later.
But, question…when you decide to quit your life to travel for 4 months, what’s the first thing you do? After drinking a bottle or three of wine, I mean…and after eating your weight in Nutella straight out of the jar…and after crying and laughing and feeling the most sure of anything you’ve ever felt. What do you do then?
You grab your passport, just to make sure you’re good to go expiration date-wise and so you can feel in control of anything at all in your life with a sense of instant gratification. Perfect.
Except, um, my passport is lost.
Gone. Probably in one of the boxes I haven’t unpacked in the last year, despite my attempt at being “settled”. But I can’t find it. That’s okay. Getting a new one is easy. I’ll just fill out the application over my next work break.
Except, um, this application is much more difficult at 30 than it was at 23. When I was 23, I could automatically remember not just my parents’ birthdays, but birth years without consulting my “birthday calendar” (a thing I currently have, that I only remember my grandmother having because she couldn’t remember anything anymore…so that’s awesome). Plus, my mother was literally right next to me the last time I filled this thing out. Oh! And I didn’t have to use Facebook to remember my (now ex-) husband’s birthday because I was in love forever and ever and ever. That’s ok, thank god for social media. I’m still all good.
Except, um, this particular application needs one more date that the last one didn’t. Which is totally fine, except it’s a date I embarrassingly CAN NOT remember for the life of me. I’ve never been good about remembering specific dates so this normally isn’t a huge deal, but the date that I can’t figure out is the date my divorce was official…a date I don’t remember because what I do remember is intentionally doing everything I could to forget it. But that’s fine! It’s been years, and I’m well beyond that version of Laura. I’m an older Laura. A more mature Laura. A Laura who…is definitely quitting her life with no long term plans. Still fine. Google is a magical tool.
Except when it’s not and it gives you absolutely no answers.
Sitting at my desk, surrounded by 3 people who know about my plans and 30 who have no clue, I start laughing hysterically.
Because, honestly, if a 30-year-old woman can’t remember, or at least figure out, the date of her divorce decree in order to replace a passport that she has no idea how she lost…I’m guessing she’s definitely going to have a tough time traveling for 4 months, internationally…alone.
Cool cool cool.
Thus begins a deep, dark dive into my social media history. I remember grabbing a beer with my friend Nate after court that day, and I’m 100% sure that I posted a picture somewhere online.
So it’s on Instagram! Um…no.
So it’s in a photo album on Facebook! Um..also no.
So I chat my friend Faz, “what were social media platforms that people posted pictures to in 2013?” Because I’m finally realizing that these are questions people my age actually have to ask now.
So it’s on Twitter! Yeah, of course not, guys.
Well if it’s not on Instagram, or in a photo album on Facebook, or on Twitter…then it’s definitely on my Facebook feed somewhere.
So what do I do? I spend a FULL FUCKING HOUR scrolling through my personal Facebook feed. I start on my phone, but the shards of broken glass on my screen (which has been broken since April) begin to hinder my progress (once again, I’m fine, this is fine). I then move to my computer, and just as I finally hit my posts from 2013 (yes, I remember the year; no, I’m not a monster), I see on the top left a dropdown menu where I can pick out the freaking year I’d like to take a look at. Whatever, at this point I feel I deserve this punishment.
How badly do I want to travel?, I ask myself. If you can’t make it through this, you’ll definitely die in a hostel.
When I finally hit the post I just barely remember, I see this:
…I checked in on Foursquare. Ok, so that was a thing in 2013. Definitely didn’t remember that. And there’s no mention of divorce. Or Nate. Only a mention of beer. Seems about right.
At this point, my trip down the social media rabbit hole has lasted hours. My few friends who know about my upcoming adventure are all both highly invested in my search and in fits of laughter at my lack of basic human competence. But this still feels like a victory to me. I stand up and yell “MAY THIRTEENTH!!!!” Three people celebrate. Thirty look at me in brief confusion before they stare back at their computer monitors.
My friend Nicole and I decide this means now I won’t die in Asia.