Passport Fiasco: Deserting a Friend in Paradise

Like any relationship, friendships can be complicated, even under the best circumstances. Add the stress of being in a foreign country with an emergency; that relationship can go from good to horrid in moments. This scenario is Holly’s story. 

Last Minute Conundrum

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Holly and her friend Sarah were taking a month-long trip to visit Thailand and Vietnam. While packing for Vietnam, after a great experience in Thailand, Sarah noticed that she had misplaced her passport. 

Holly said that during their trip, Sarah had been somewhat careless with her possessions, often leaving them around in their hostel, and didn’t notify her bank of their overseas trip, which blocked her bank card. 

Stressful Rudeness

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Holly said that Sarah immediately called her brother and completely ignored her when she asked if they should see about getting an emergency passport. Sarah relayed that she was too stressed and that her brother “would find out what to do.”

Holly felt the more she tried to help, the more Sarah ignored her, walking into other rooms, and she thought she’d only be doing Sarah a disservice by continuing to stay at their hostel. So, considering she’d already paid for her flight and the remainder of her trip in advance, Holly thought it best if she continued with her flight to Vietnam. 

On Second Though

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Initially, Sarah seemed fine with Holly going on without her, hugging her goodbye and saying, “She’d miss me.” However, when Sarah landed in Vietnam, she got a text message from a mutual friend saying that Sarah was upset with her. The friend relayed that Sarah told everyone that Holly abandoned her in a foreign country. 

Holly confronted her friend, who said after taking some time to think about it, she felt Holly was wrong and inconsiderate for leaving, and if their situations had been reversed, she would have stayed to help Holly out. While their friends understand both sides, Holly’s family agrees that she shouldn’t have wasted her trip or the money she paid. 


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Holly ended her post by saying that after some time to cool down, she and Sarah buried the hatchet, admitting they handled things poorly. They both understood that though they’d been friends a long time, it was their first traveling experience together, and they should have expected some obstacles along the way. They’ve since made up and have plans to see Taylor Swift in concert in 2024. 

When you post something like this online, people are more than willing to offer their sage and unsolicited advice on your behavior and what they think you should have done. And on a rare occasion, they may even agree with you. Here are some of our favorite responses to Holly’s story. 

1. Irresponsible

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Several commenters agreed that Sarah was entirely at fault for being so careless with her belongings, especially the most essential travel document you can possess. One of them said, “She was irresponsible with her passport. Why should your vacation be ruined, and you lose the money you paid for the trip due to her irresponsibility? The problem wasn’t something she wanted to deal with herself. She wanted her brother to take care of her. She did nothing to keep the vacation going. You just continued with your vacation plans. How would it have helped if you canceled your vacation and stayed with her? She is an adult. She made a mistake. She is not your responsibility.”

2. Not Everybody

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There were some contributors, however, who felt both Holly and Sarah were in the wrong. Here’s what one said, “It is absolutely on your friend to keep track of their possessions, and I would even argue that if you miss your flight because of her careless-les, she should probably compensate you. On the other hand, you and your friend were on vacation together in a foreign country that is (presumably) far away. You both don’t know the environment and should be able to depend on each other if something goes wrong or someone is in danger. It would also be a reason to make it your only trip with this person.”

3. Sever Ties

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One person went as far as to suggest a dire consequence of Holly’s actions. Here’s their determination, “Friendship sometimes requires sacrifice to build and maintain trust. You’re right to be annoyed with her, and she is right to be annoyed with you. I can’t imagine leaving my friend in a foreign country due to a mistake like that. Traveling as a woman by yourself is dangerous. You prioritized your vacation over her safety. She was careless and was ruining your trip. I’d stop being friends with you over this.”

4. Defensive Much?

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Other contributors were interested in Holly’s reactions to people who called her out for her treatment of Sarah. Here’s what one had to say. “I have been reading Holly’s comments to everybody; she is incredibly defensive. I don’t know why she would be posting something like this if she wasn’t willing to be introspective and look at other people’s perspectives. Maybe you feel guilty for leaving your friend in a foreign country? Some friend.”

5. Adorable

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One individual made a perfect point about the difference between great friends and people you’d want to take a trip with. They said, “I have several friends I adore, but few I’d want to travel with!” Traveling can be high-stress, and not everyone responds well under pressure. Knowing that beforehand can significantly improve your choice of travel buddy. 

6. Take One, Leave One

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Several posters were shocked that Holly thought the sheer cost justified her behavior. Here’s what one had to say: “I understand you don’t wanna lose money, but morally, I would never leave a friend behind in another country. It’s just like you shouldn’t leave your friend alone after you go out or have been drinking.”

Life Lessons

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Sometimes, life presents us with lessons we wouldn’t learn under other circumstances. One participant said, “I have lots of friends I adore, but none I’d want to travel with.” Loving your friends sometimes means knowing that despite how much you adore them, your personalities are too different to mesh well on a long trip. Preserving a friendship is more important than sharing every experience. 

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