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I cannot rest from travel…

February 17, 2010

I am a part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I  move.

from “Ulysses,” Alfred, Lord Tennyson

My passport is a permanent fixture in my life.  I know many people don’t carry theirs around with them, but I happen to be one of those New York City non-drivers without a driver’s license (yep), and for quite some time I had even misplaced my permit, so I got into the habit of always carrying my passport on me at all times.  The look on a bouncer’s face when I hand them my passport instead of a driver’s license is almost always priceless.  In Nicaragua, I slept with it under my pillow, and when I travel, I carry it in my bra with my money and other important documents.  Yeah, it gets sweaty, so if you ever meet me, you probably don’t want to touch my passport.

It is a reminder of all the places I have been in the past four years.  Each page bears a very specific memory of a time and place and experience – at the border crossing – but also is a frame for all the things I encountered in between the time I received my entrance stamps and the time I am stamped back into the United States.

This page recalls the day I was almost drafted into the Israeli Army at the border between Israel and Jordan.  Long story short, Israeli military participation is compulsory for all Israeli citizens over the age of eighteen (and I won’t go into my feelings about this here…not the time right now), and yours truly is an Israeli citizen, although I did not know it at the time.  My family and I were crossing the border to visit Petra when I was whisked away by the border crossing officer and questioned about my family and my citizenship, and then placed on the phone with the military office, who informed me that I am an Israeli citizen and prior to my next visit to Israel, I will need to be granted exemption from military service and obtain an Israeli passport – and mostly I was upset that I might not get to see Petra.  Thank goodness exemption was all I needed!  Honestly I was seeing visions of army fatigues and being drafted on the spot.  Which reminds me.  I need to get my Israeli passport.  Ha.   And I got to Petra.

Keeping my passport around keeps me sane.  It’s a reminder of the things I have seen, the knowledge I have gleaned during my travels, the people I have encountered, the way I have grown.  It is a symbol of how my identity has been shaped.

Ah, my first visa.  Even getting this visa was an adventure – my best friend and I didn’t realize we needed travel visas until about two days before we left for Thailand!  Thankfully, the incredibly kind people at the Thai embassy expedited our process and did not charge us a penny.

Strange how an innocent leaf of paper in a passport holds so much significance.  How can I even begin to detail the adventure between the two dates stamped in innocuous, unassuming blue ink?

I don’t know where my passport and I will go next, but we’re ready.

And for shits and giggles, my terrible passport photo:

Do you have a current, up-to-date passport? Where has yours taken you?  If you don’t have one, and you’re an American citizen, click here to find out how to apply for yours, and click here to find out how to renew it if you’ve let it expire!

How’s everybody’s hump-day doing?  Today is totally going to be a day of folding lots of laundry for me once I’m done with my reading.  Blah blah blah.  By the way, we ran out of all the good coffee in my house, I’m going crazy!…more!  Also kinda messed up on the whole eating-breakfast thing since I woke up later than I intended and rushed out of the house.  Apparently I wasn’t the only one to do so – when I woke up I found a half-made peanut butter sandwich on the counter, meaning my roommate (who wakes up at the crack of dawn for her extreeeeme pharmacy student schedule!) was trying to make her lunch and ran out of time.  We sync up like that creepily.

Can’t wait for Pilates tonight.  And I should probably make myself some lunch…

12 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2010 2:01 pm

    I’ve only been out of the country twice – once to Ecuador for a volunteer trip and once to Ireland to visit my best friend over spring break. A passport stamp is one of the best souvenirs you can get! 🙂

  2. February 17, 2010 2:56 pm

    my last passport was when i was like 12 and then that expired and ive never renewed it. maybe it’ll get renewed when we go for our european honeymoon cruise…we’ll see.

    it’s so cool to see passports that have so many stamps. totally jelly of you and your travels.

    look forward to reading more about your travels.

  3. February 17, 2010 3:10 pm

    Beautiful post…funny story about the military thing! I have a passport, and the picture is hysterical. My head is reflecting light like a lamp.

  4. Shelley (findinghappinessandhealth) permalink
    February 17, 2010 4:10 pm

    i think your travels are amazing and it is awesome that you are so into travelling 🙂 I LOVE israel and your stories are really interesting to read about! have a great day


  5. February 17, 2010 5:35 pm

    I LOVE to travel too. what wonderful stories you have!

    my parents got me dual citizenship in Egypt, but I don’t know why lol, I will never live there. I can only speak the language. I am deff. going to learn how to read and write arabic more in college.

    oh and your passport picture pales in comparison to mine! seriously, you do not want to see it…horrible hahah!

    have a great night,

  6. February 18, 2010 2:33 am

    OMG this is a priceless post as is that comment about carrying it everywhere and using it as an ID and boucers’ faces LOL i can only imagine!

    thanks for the sweet email you sent me; i feel the same, had no idea i would be so touched by people…like you in the ‘sphere 🙂

  7. February 18, 2010 10:27 am

    Great read La! Yes it is amazing how a passport hold so much information.

    I have been to France, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, England, Iran, Turkey. The stamps are definately a great reminder of many amazing memories.

  8. February 18, 2010 12:54 pm

    What a great post! First off, I am trying to understand how anyone cannot have a Drivers License. 🙂 For us Angeleno’s not driving is just not an option.

    You’ve been to some great places! I love all the stamps on my passport too.

    • February 18, 2010 1:29 pm

      Ahhh I love LA but I’ve said on many an occasion that it’s my personal transportation nightmare! The cars and the traffic! Whenever my aunt visits from LA she is amazed that I manage to survive with no car and no license.

  9. February 18, 2010 7:15 pm

    so impressed with all your travels! I bet you have some AMAZING stories! I love to travel, but don’t feel as if I do it nearly enough – and I still haven’t been with the Mister to Europe. I have been to France, Germany, Austria, Hungry, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, England, Scotland and Whales. I look forward to experiencing all those places again with the Mister, though!

    • February 19, 2010 12:20 am

      Oh man! I want to travel Europe soooo badly! I’ve been to France and England so far, but I want to go everywhere!

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