In early December I retired my old passport. That’s not to say that I decided to hang up my travelling shoes (because we all know that won’t be happening until I’m 6 feet under), but that it was time for a shiny new one.
I picked up my new passport two days prior to needing it because I clearly like to live dangerously1. After verifying my personal information was correct I flipped through the pages, each with a different image of Canadiana. I tried my best to ignore the could be mistaken for a mug shot but rather accurate photo of me, or the fact that I’d have to look at it until my passport needs to be replaced in ten years.
Instead, I immediately noticed that the new passport came with more pages than my previous one. Clearly this was a sign from the universe indicating that it is expected – nay required – that I travel more. Because more pages means more travel stamps and visas, right?
This, in turn, had me thinking about my old passport and the adventures I’d been on with it firmly in hand. My old passport was filled with five years worth of adventures found miles away from home. It held the laughter and chatter of friends. It was surrounded by the voices of different languages, and new songs. It smelled of markets, and fresh bread, perfectly brewed coffees, and mouth-watering meals. It held the knowledge of the things that happen in Vegas that stay in Vegas. And it contained the shared experiences of the people I was fortunate to meet along the way. It was my trusted companion for five years and more than 40 trips spanning six provinces, six states, and ten countries. It was the bookends to my first years as an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science at the University of Guelph, and represented a full eighth of my life. It was inspired and filled by my constant wanderlust.
It was an awesome passport.
I hope that in ten years I can say the same about my new passport; that I can look back on ten years of travel and again recognize how lucky I am that I get to do the things that I do.
1 I was booked on a flight to Vancouver for the ArcticNet conference, which was almost immediately followed by my trip to Paris, Bruges, and Amsterdam2.
2 And my next trip will have me back in Rigolet in February3.
3 Hmmm, three big trips in the first three months of having my new passport – I think I’m off to a good start with this one 🙂