This site isn’t called The UNworldly Travelers for no reason. I’m 36 years old and I literally just got my passport today.
Go ahead, laugh if you want, but I am unworldly. I grew up in the North Eastern United States. Our family vacations were to the Jersey Shore. The first time I left the country was a short trip to the Bahamas when I was in college. In my early twenties I took a road trip to Niagara Falls, the Canadian side and it was a HUGE deal.
I just wasn’t raised in a world traveling kind of way. My mom had enough to worry about getting food on the table and she herself came from a family that didn’t travel much. Not that I know of anyway. We lived day-to-day. It never even occurred to me that I was missing anything. It just wasn’t something we did.
Now, in my 30s, established and lucky to achieve what I have in life, I’m keenly aware of what I’ve been missing. I have friends that talk of their amazing travels to South America and Africa. I have others who were born overseas. Some work abroad. Some travel regularly to places that have only existed in movies and books to me.
Is it strange that I’m scared? I feel so uncultured and inexperienced.
It may seem silly to those who grew up in a more affluent household but to me, my passport represents opportunity. It is a symbol that I am not bound to the vision I have of myself. I can be anything I want to be, do anything I want to do, and go anywhere I want to go.
A little deep, I know, but this is a big deal from me. And let me tell you, getting the passport wasn’t easy.
I decided that the whole family would at least get passport cards. We don’t have any international trips planned in the near future so spending an extra $270 to get everyone passbook books seemed a bit excessive. Instead I got the book and we ordered cards for the rest of the family. Click here to see all the passport fees.
After filling out 4 applications (mine, the husband’s and both kids) I was told by the post office that our (mine and The Husband’s) birth certificates were not valid because they didn’t contain both our parents full names and places of birth. Apparently, birth certificates have changed over the years and each state is different. This set me down a path of ordering new certificates from 2 different states, getting things notarized and waiting for weeks for new ones in the mail. Thankfully I found Vitalcheck, which held my hand through the whole process.
Then there were the photos, the copies of our driver licenses, the fact that both parents needed to be present to fill out the applications in person for the kids, and a trip to the post office during work hours.
It literally took months before the process was complete. But now as we wait for the cards in the mail (they all come separately,) it was worth that little bit of hassle.
I love knowing I can take my family on a cruise to Bermuda or a road trip to Canada. Considering the husband doesn’t fly —yes, you are reading the travel blog of a woman who is married to a man who refuses to fly— I don’t think we’ll be hoping on a flight to Europe anytime soon. At least not with the whole family. However, I’m hoping to make my first international trip within the next year. The bucket list awaits another check.