Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Passport Renewal Blues

I just completed renewing my passport...which made me realize that another ten years has come and gone.

...that's right, it's going to be yet another post where I bemoan the fact that I'm getting older...

I first got my passport in November 1996 when I was 18.  I noticed that it was good for 10 years, and that I wouldn't have to renew it until 2006, when I was 28.
At the time, 28 seemed so old I couldn't even fathom it.  Intellectually, of course, I knew I would inevitably age just like every one else does.  But psychologically, I couldn't believe I would ever really become 28.

And then 2006 came, and I had to renew my passport for another 10 years.  "Huh, I guess I got to 28  after all," I remember thinking to myself.  "But I can't ever imagine being 38!"

And now I'm 38, and it was time to renew the passport again.  Sigh.  Where does time go?

At the very least, I got good use out of this last passport.  This last passport was the first passport I filled up completely (and then had to apply for extra pages at the US Consulate).*

And now I have the stamps for memories.  But just in case I ever lose the passport, I'll duplicate the itinerary here.

When I first got the renewed passport in November 2006, I was living in the United States.
* And then in January 2007, I went back to Japan.
* September 2008, I went back to the United States for 2 weeks for my sister's wedding, and then back to Japan.
* January 2010 I left Japan to return home to the United States
* February 2010 I went to Australia.
* February 2011 I left Australia to return to the United States
* April 2011 I left the United States to go to Cambodia
* June 2011 I visited Vietnam for one week, and then back to Cambodia
* December 2011 I visited Malaysia for 3 weeks, and then back to Cambodia (pictures here)
* June  2012 I visited Thailand for 1 week, and then back to Cambodia
* March 2013: Attempted to visit Vietnam for a short trip on the Mekong Delta Tour, but was turned away at the boarder because my passport was full (or full by their standards--they wanted 4 completely blank pages)
* May 2013: Mekong Delta Tour second try--this time with extra pages in the pasport.  Visited Vietnam for 3 days, and then back to Cambodia
* December 2014 I went home to the United States for one month, and then back to Cambodia
* April 2015 I moved from Cambodia to Vietnam
* August 2015 I went back to Cambodia for 5 days (to visit friends and pick up some luggage) and then back to Vietnam.

Total: lived in 5 countries (America, Japan, Australia, Cambodia, Vietnam), plus visited two more (Malaysia, Thailand).  Not a bad 10 years I suppose.

*Although part of the reason that this passport filled up so quickly was less to do with my frequent travels and more to do with the fact that both Cambodia and Vietnam issue huge visa stickers that cover up one whole page of the passport.  And then every time your visa is renewed, you get another huge sticker.  Simply by renewing my visa several times in Cambodia and Vietnam, I filled up half of the passport.


Darrell Reimer said...

I have fond recollections of my "38" -- nothing specific, but it was probably the last year I could take my bod for granted. Injuries healed themselves, and who really needed to stretch?, etc. Hope the remainder of your 38 is a pleasure as well.

Joel Swagman said...

Ah no, really? I was hoping for 10 more years before I had to stop taking my body for granted.

I was reading in a biography of Mark Twain (something that I skimmed over last year while doing my research for Huck Finn--couldn't give you the reference now) that the 40s were some of the best years Mark Twain had, because he was at peak experience, but his body didn't yet have any of the problems of old age.

I was hoping to have the same in my 40s.

I guess I'll see what happens and get back to you in 10 years.