New passport, new possibilities.
This month I got a new passport. I've always liked getting new passports (except paying for them - ouch), there's so much possibility contained within each one. All the pages are blank and then you start filling them in - first with the emergency contact numbers at the back, then hopefully plenty of stamps as you go travelling.
I'm quite sad to part with my most recent 'old' passport, though. We've been to a lot of places together. After our undergrad degrees, I went on a family holiday to the USA before heading off travelling with two friends and my then-boyfriend: over four months we went to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Sooty Owl and I went to visit a friend volunteering at Sangam in India, Ben and I went to Morocco, I've also been to European destinations (sadly no stamps). The passport has been used for multiple DBS checks, and identity checks for work. It's given me moments of panic when I couldn't find it, relief when it was located in somewhere I honestly thought I'd looked. Now the corners have been snipped off, and it is relegated to a box of special items.
I love passport stamps - whilst queues at border controls are often long, hot, and boring, it is exciting getting a new stamp in the passport. I particularly liked the Chilean stamps, with the ink in different colours, and different colours for entry and exit.
I also liked the stamps from Belize, different shapes for entry and exit. I didn't like Ecuador's (a boring print out, not even an actual stamp) and the immigration lady annoyed me - I was trying to fill my passport in a logical order, and I had a blank left hand side page - I handed my passport over to the lady and asked (in my best amateurish Spanish) if she could stamp that page, por favor. She looked at me, turned the page over without breaking eye contact, and stamped overleaf, completely disrupting my South American order. Oh well, at least I was in the country!
My new passport expires in 2028 - as I type it, that date seems incredibly far away. Where is my new passport going to take me? To Iceland this summer, and then...? I subscribe to Lonely Planet Traveller magazine, and my dad buys me a National Geographic subscription each Christmas. There are so many places I want to go, specifically southern Africa (I spent my gap year in South Africa and absolutely fell in love with the country), more of the USA, and European cities. I'm so glad I had a gap year either side of my undergrad degrees - those two years gave me time to work and earn money, and then go travelling for extended periods of time. Whilst I am lucky to have a job with a generous holiday allowance, I reckon it'll be retirement before I head off for four months at at time again! In the mean time, I'll keep dreaming, and hopefully this passport will eventually be filled with many memories like my old ones.