Sunday, 25 May 2014

Passport to happiness

Ten business days can feel like a very long time.

This is how long I have to wait for my new passport to arrive.

While I don't have any travel booked during this time, I've always found comfort in the idea that should I become fed up with everything the Brisbane International Airport is just a 10-minute drive away. Within hours I could be escaping to Asia, Europe or the US.

But for the next two weeks I'm effectively trapped in Australia.  What if during this time I win an amazing trip overseas or my presence is requested by European royalty?

Is that the approach of claustrophobia I'm feeling?  Deep breaths.  Deep breaths.

The need for a new passport came to a head two weeks ago when I was flying to PNG for a week of work.  I was almost not allowed onto the plane as it was only five months and 23 days until my passport expired, rather than six months.

My new passport will be my fourth and will feature yet another unsmiling and unflattering photo (I actually had to squat while this photo was being taken as the camera tripod was too short).

I like flicking through my passports as the various visas and stamps jettison me back to those places and times.

I also have quite an attachment to my passport.  After all, it has been my constant travelling companion all these years.  I've freaked out overseas when I've thought I'd lost it, I've warily let others touch it, and I've been reassured when it has been returned to my side by border guards.

My first passport, which I got as a teenager, only has the stamps of one trip - a school French trip to New Caledonia.   It would be several more years before I would need a passport again.

My second passport is perpetually bent to fit the contour of my stomach after it spent a trip to Laos in my sweaty money belt.   This was around the time I had my first job and had been bitten by the travel bug.

The third and most recent passport is the best illustration of my travel obsession.  However there are still blank pages at the back, evidence that various border officials had given up finding any blank pages so just stamped over other stamps in the front half.

Apart from putting my new passport to good use, I'm excited to be getting an epassport.  These were first issued in 2005, the year after I got my last passport, and I've spent the years since envying those who have been able to breeze through the automatic gates at Australian border control.  Soon I hope that will be me.

While I pass time waiting for the new passport to arrive, I'll spend my time wisely by contemplating where to go next.  I've always thought a passport's blank pages were issuing me a challenge, urging me to visit more countries to try and fill them up.

No comments:

Post a Comment