The Strength of the American Passport
Passing up my Passport:
It has been nearly one decade, since I first limbered up the spine of my 3x5 navy blue ticket to the world. Today we suddenly and prematurely parted ways, it was abrupt… she was swept out from under me in nanoseconds all because she was filled to capacity with a menagerie of stamps decorating her flakey layers, just like the ornate and personable signatures one would adorn their besties broken limb cast with. I never thought this day would come, it wasn’t even her expiration date yet, but I was forced to unwillingly forfeit her and give her away like I only imagine a mother would have to do when giving her baby up for adoption. Just shy of ten years I carried her for, it was a nomadic frenzy of spontaneity, laced with occasional homesick nausea. I was ever so guilty of tracing the multi-colored etchings of her globally positioned system. A mark that charted the trajectory of Tori’s every globe trot. These figures had depth linked to them. They had their very own identity. The scent of the Polynesian hibiscus flowers the sound of the bustling Bombay trains. As a minimalist, I wasn’t one to accumulate nik-naks from corners of the globe, but I held my well-worn and wrinkled passport right next to my heart like a bullet proof Kevlar vest. Those velvety pages were my Persian carpets, and Picassos. My only true tangible souvenir and map. They were my scars and my trophies. And now it was gone, withheld from my possession. This was my blockchain, my personal ledger. I measure my wealth not in bitcoin or stock, but in the places I've set foot. Each smile from a foreigner was a dollar, each mind blowing bite of exotic food I've sampled was a euro, each dip in a new ocean was a peso.
I was blindly rushed to make arrangements, and the only option brought me up North to New Hampshire, just on the cusp of Maine. This was an urgent, sleep-deprived mission, coalesced with a decade of back-breaking travel, heartbreaks, nomadism, career alterations, and epic expeditions. There was no looking back, there was no time for hesitation, it was vital to be precise. But briefly, a pang of murky flashbacks attempted to weasel and spurt its’ way into my memory. Page one was tattooed with markings back in what felt like ancient times, back when Cal and Stephen were guiding me as a virgin rover, way back when I required hefty training wheels of travel.
The very New Hampshire government operated office, where my brand spanking new, squeaky clean yet expensive passport was instantly birthed, happened to be right next to SNHU, the university I cultivated my online degree at. This was prehistorically before virtual learning and online classes were really a thing. It helped me to obtain my degree while simultaneously traveling the globe for work. Ironically enough, I was never to the physical campus in the flesh before, because its’ accessibility allowed me to be extremely remote pre-zoom days. But the emergency passport renewal and rebirth process, required that I make the pilgrimage to the school that supported my transient lifestyle in the first place.