There’s something bittersweet about turning in your old passport. Of course there’s the requisite nostalgia that bubbles up as you thumb through the worn pages, suddenly recalling the Mexican restaurant with the killer salsa made tableside, or the Olympic stadium in Sarajevo turned hastily created cemetery during the war. You remember the painstaking days spent simply memorizing the Turkish word for thank you and the Pretty Woman-esque shopping orgy through Paris when the exchange rate was so good we didn’t bother to appreciate it nearly enough.
But the hardest part to me is looking at the empty pages. The ones with no stamps at all. The ones that might have been filled with ink from Thailand and Greece, Costa Rica and Japan, and a visit or two to see your best friend in Tanzania, had you only found the time/the money/the vacation days/the inclination.
And of course there’s that whole business of parting with the photo of yourself ten years younger. Ten years glow-ier.
Maybe the infuriatingly bureaucratic and inefficient system at the will-call window at the passport office is simply some evil genius plan to distract you from becoming sentimental, to keep you from throwing yourself on the carcass of your used passport like a mourning Greek widow, as they punch those two holes in the cover and stamp it CANCELLED.
Yeah, that’s it.
We’re off for a little trip tomorrow, just for a few days. A lot of fun, a little work, a whole lot of sand. And a new stamp in the new passport.
It’s a fresh start. Ten new years to fill those pages. Starting now.