Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Passport - Found!

Sure, we all lose things as we trample through life. I go through phases, for sure. Just recently, I lost a beloved hat, a favorite scarf and a few other things within the space of a few days. God, I was pissed.

Eventually, I'll forget. (Although there are a few pieces of jewelry that are gone that I will never get over. To this day, I believe they were stolen from my hotel room. BITTER.)

This is what happened with my original passport circa 1990. I'd gotten it to explore Europe with the Dowdy Brothers. I'd hurriedly obtain a photo and it ended up being the best photo ever taken in my entire life. (I was not as lucky with the current passport photo in which I resemble a greasy, bespectacled church lady.)

For a traveler, the first passport is magical. Literally, it is your ticket around the globe. I used this original passport to explore at least 20 countries. Such experiences opened my eyes, stretched my perspective and enriched my brain. All this due to a small blue booklet.

Sometime after my trip-'round-the-world in 1996, I lost the passport. Desperate, I looked everywhere but it had disappeared. All those wonderful, exotic stamps from faraway lands - gone! I was so bereft over losing it that it took me years to cancel it and apply for a new one; I kept holding out hope that it would resurface.

Over Thanksgiving this year, I was going through some drawers in my mother's house - upstairs in the game room, next to the ping-pong table/pool table. I pulled out a bunch of essays from college ("The Deteriorating Image of Marriage"), my graduation certificate from junior high and ... the long lost passport.

JOY! There was the photo of a young blonde Heather, wide-eyed and ready for adventure. There was the initial stamp from an immigration officer at London's Heathrow on June 6, 1990 - the first of many.

Flipping through, I recalled how many of the visa stamps were required before leaving the U.S. It was frightening to drop my passport in the mailbox, addressed to various embassies in DC, hoping ...PRAYING, that it would find its way back to me. I had to do that at least four times (Zambia, Australia, Zaire, Tanzania) and each instance was a nail-biter.

Best stamp of all: A muddy footprint on the final page, the remnant of a harrowing episode that involved a bus, a beach, two nuns, a guy from New Jersey, polizia, mass confusion and me spending several hours in an Italian jail - a story for another time.

3 comments:

hotdrwife said...

WOMAN!!!

I want to know this story!!!

Over drinks?? Come on, I miss me some of your sweet self!

(glad you found the passport!)

ClizBiz said...

Yes, this story can only be told over drinks. Let's do this.

hotdrwife said...

Yes, yes!!

And, you're right - that's a great photo. xo