Don’t keep your passport in a pair of sweatpants.

Tonight I went on a date and I would love to tell you some half-awful, half-hilarious story about how I tripped on my way into the bar or dropped an entire pizza on the floor, but that just didn’t happen. Interesting turn of events, no? I guess when you meet someone while wearing giant claw mittens, things can only get more normal.

So instead I’m going to write about how excited I am for my trip to Ireland next week. And that is sure to be much less ordinary because the last time I was with the people I’m going to visit, one of them managed to lose his passport on a train to Machu Picchu and I got ambushed by a flock of sheep while going to the bathroom at our campsite.

For the record, the passport story was dramatic! It involved us dumping the contents of a hiking backpack on the floor of a hotel lobby and then tearing through a Peruvian market on the off-chance that he dropped it on the way over. It culminated in us both wildly gesticulating to a train attendant that we were searching for a passport that might have fallen out of a pair of sweatpants. (It did, and we got it back. Crisis averted).

But exciting as that was, I have to admit that it pales in comparison to the sheep. Especially when you consider that the whole situation could have been avoided if only I had realized that they were trying to warn me that the flock was on its way up a hill and heading straight towards me. I just thought they were being immature about poop, so I ignored them. Until I saw that first stupid sheep pop up over the hill. Followed closely by a second. And a third.

Fifteen sheep later – just as I thought it couldn’t get any worse – I realized one thing: the shepherd could not be far behind. (He was. And I made it, but just barely).

A British woman who was on a month-long holiday in South America declared this moment to be the highlight of her trip. I asked her if maybe the time she spent in the Galapagos, or the majestic views of the Peruvian mountains or the extraordinary existence of Machu Picchu might actually top the list, but she insisted that the this run-in with the sheep was the very best.

With that in mind, let me tell you what happened the next day. She and I – and a third person –  all tromped off into the woods to go to the bathroom together, which is a decision that makes sense only after you’ve been hiking together for three days. It all seemed to go just fine until several minutes later when this woman tried take a photo with the camera dangling from her backpack only to discover that it had been recording the whole time.

“We have to watch!” she said.

“WE DO NOT HAVE TO WATCH!” I countered.

(We didn’t, and we deleted it. Immediately.)

So. All this is to say that if next week is anything like the first go-round with my Irish friends, it is going to be a real shit show. Quite literally.

But I’m still going to take photos.


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