There’s a Passport with Your Name on ItSTAFF, TRAVEL PREP — By Milli Thornton on September 17, 2011 at 01:17
Story by Milli Thornton. Photo Copyright © Milli Thornton.
Today, Saturday, September 17 is Passport Day in the USA 2011. How wonderful that there’s a day not only to commemorate it but also to expedite the process for people who’ve been meaning to get around to it.
I’ve had a passport since I was a little kid—or, rather, I was included on the family passport. I remember seeing a photo of all ten of us in my dad’s passport. Not sure they still do that (this was back in the 1960s) but suffice to say I was familiar with what a passport looked like when I was still a little tyke.
Then, at the ripe old age of 12, I became conscious of what they’re used for when we moved from Great Falls, Montana to Australia on the S.S. Orsova (we departed from Vancouver and landed in Sydney 21 days later).
Going a Whole Lifetime Without a Passport
Having experienced international travel so young, I’m saddened by the number of people who never attempt to get a passport or ever think about going beyond their known borders.
For instance, living here in Northern Ohio, we’re only a few hours drive from the Canadian border. As soon as we moved here Brian and I couldn’t wait to access Canada from our house, and our first foray was to see Niagara Falls from the Canadian Side.
We’ve yet to meet anyone here in Youngstown who has been into Canada. Probably because they don’t have a passport.
(Brian likes to point out that we see very little of Canada on our news programs here in the U.S. What’s up with that? Maybe they’re afraid that if Americans find out how cool it is, they’ll want to move there en masse.)
You Just Never Know When You Might Need to Live Overseas
They say travel broadens the mind—but that’s an understatement for what it does when you actually change countries. It would take a book (or at least a lot of blog posts) to describe my own experience as an expat/repat (moving from the USA to Australia in 1972 and then back to the U.S. in 1997) but it changed me profoundly.
This was something I had no way to describe to Brian. But then, when he couldn’t get work where we lived and we couldn’t pay the mortgage, he worked in Russia for two months (see Sakhalin Road Trip). After that, he understood the way in which it adds dimensions to your very being to live in another country, even if only for a few months. And now he’s keen on the idea of working in other overseas countries, as well.
But such choices are not possible without a passport.
Even if you think you’ll never do something crazy like go work in Russia (parts of it were kind of crazy ), if you’ve never had a passport, please consider getting one. The intention that goes along with it just might change your life, even if it’s just so you can plan to someday see Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.
P.S. Besides the massive flow of water, Niagara Falls is an incredible river of international peoples. You can’t stand in the crowd at the waterfall without feeling like a part of humanity, rather than just a citizen of whatever country you live in right now.
STORY UPDATE: A few hours after publishing this post, I was attending the local Fall Harvest Festival with a new friend and she talked about her trips into Canada. Yay!
Milli Thornton (aka Milliver) is the author of Fear of Writing: for writers & closet writers. She is owner of the Fear of Writing Online Course, where her mission is to put the fun back into writing. Milli blogs at Screenwriting in the Boonies and the Fear of Writing Blog and coaches writers individually at Writer’s Muse Coaching Service.