Out With The Old, In With The New…

I reached a rather interesting milestone recently:  I had to renew my passport.  I obtained my first passport back in February 2006 in anticipation of an April 2016 trip to Dakar, Senegal.  I was going to visit my girlfriend (now wife) who was doing a teacher exchange.  I had never needed a passport before.  I had traveled to Mexico a few times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and then again in the mid-1990s when I was living in Texas. Those were always land crossings, and in those days, you didn’t need a passport.  I can remember walking back across the border from Nuevo Laredo, and simply saying “I’m an American” and showing a driver’s license.   I think you had to pay $.25 and push through a turnstile.  That was about it.  Times have changed.

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My father and I pose with with a pair of taxi drivers in Reynosa, Mexico, 1986

 

With an expiration date of February 2016 looming, I sent my passport in for renewal after returning from Guanajuato in October.  I didn’t want to let go of the old one.  It’s seen some heavy use, and a lot of great memories came from those trips.  It’s been used 30 times in those 10 years, mostly to Mexico, but also to France a couple of times, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and maybe a couple of stamps in and out of Canada.  The nice thing is, they punch a few holes in the old one and send it back.  So I get to keep it, and that makes me happy.  Still, having a weathered passport with pages full of stamps always made me feel like an accomplished traveler.

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Valuable “Travel Cred”?

The new one is thicker, and has a shinier cover.  It has a chip in it — gotta have the latest technology.  It lacks history, but it won’t for long.  I’m flying to Guatemala in a couple of days.  There’s already a flight purchased to Mexico in February.  We’ll end up somewhere for Spring Break.  So it will be broken-in soon.  I just hope this passport’s ten years are as good as the last ten!

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