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my last ten years in stamps

January 29, 2011

I just renewed my passport this week. As I was assembling all that I needed to mail in, including parting with my old passport, I was hit with an unexpected wave of sacred wonder. Here, contained in this small blue book, were memories, proofs of all the places I’ve been blessed to set foot in over the last decade of my life. As I flipped through the pages, I was silent, touching each stamp, remembering each trip. An overwhelming sense of gratefulness permeated me for a few minutes; I still can’t believe that I have really seen these places, met these people, fell in love with these coasts and mountains and oceans.

There has always been a strange sense of bigness within my chest when I traveled somewhere with my passport; whenever I went through customs, I felt a deep pride when I handed them my passport. I was a citizen of the world with that book; I was one who was learning to love feeling the dirt of new places under my toes. It’s a heady rush of wonder at the world we live in and intense humility that somehow, in some magical way, I get to take part in them, just as millions of others over the centuries have.

When I stood in the piazzas of Florence, my shoes touched the cobblestones that E.M. Forster wrote about a hundred years ago and my eyes gazed upon the statues that Michaelangelo brought to life so long ago. When my hands lifted bricks, helping to build a house in the Dominican Republic, I was taking part in an ancient ritual of building someone a home in the dry, wide fields of Santiago. As I ran my fingers over the rough surface of the rails of the bridges in Paris, I imagined Hemingway walking these same paths with Hadley.

I don’t pretend that I’m not highly sentimental, but still, I don’t think that’s so bad. As I said good-bye to my guide from the last decade of adventures, I thought they deserved a proper recognition. (Please feel free to snicker as much as you like at my 16 year old fashion choices in the first few photos. I sure did.)

Italy and Paris, 2001

Dominican Republic 2002

Study Abroad 2006 (England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Italy and Greece)

Backpacking in France 2008

County Cork, Ireland 2009

Sigh. So very, very grateful. Once my new passport arrives, all the dreams swimming around in my head can perhaps start taking shape. Huzzah!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 29, 2011 8:03 pm

    What a cool idea to take a picture of your old passport stamps! I’ll have to do that when it’s time to renew mine. If I could go anywhere, I’m initially tempted to say “go back to Ireland!” But then there’s that nagging dream of visiting Italy and France since I haven’t been to either country yet, so that’s really at the top of the list.

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