One of my life mottos is, “Never let your passport expire.”I just renewed mine and when they sent back the old one, punched full of holes, it was interesting see all the passport stamps and colorful visa stickers, and reflect on places I’ve been in the past ten years. I enjoyed revisiting a variety of unexpected journeys and the opportunity to relive some very special travel memories.
The pages are home to circles, squares, and odd shaped stamps in a variety of inks. I find hurried and smeared signatures, kanji graphicsand Aramaic scripts, and a variety of illegible initials; there is a whole page devoted to the amount of US dollars and Ugandan currency I was required to pay for an “on foot” border entry; there are colorful images and seals; the back has a host of barely legible security stickers in a rainbow of colors; there is even a page announcing an “amendment” to add more page. Ten years of travel history bound in a single, 3.5 x 5 inch dark blue booklet, and it speaks about the world in a subtle stillness from the corner of my desk.
As I flip through the pages, I’m reminded that this little booklet has been with me for all my laboratory consulting journeys, and occasionally has had a mind of its own. The Johannesburg airport incident for one; and next time I’ll tell you about passports and horses. I don’t have a stamp in there for this little side trip in the mountains outside Bishkek, Kyrgystan, but I’m thinking I should have—you can be the judge.Take a moment and thumb through your passport. I promise it will jog travel memories, and perhaps invite you to take another international journey soon. The world is indeed a small place, and I intend to fill as many pages as possible in the next ten years!
–Beverly Sumwalt, MA, DLM, CLS, MT(ASCP) is an ASCP Global Outreach Volunteer Consultant.