'The World is Yours!': I finally got a passport


“Bassboat.” “Bizport.” “Passboot.” “Pisspot.” It’s the one English word every Lebanese understands and no Lebanese can say. The first, deepest and most enduring impression from a visit to Lebanon is an endless series of faces, with gun barrels, poking through the car window and mispronouncing your travel documents.
—P.J. O’Rouke, “A Ramble Through Lebanon”

I have been waiting to use that quote for years, ever since reading “A Ramble Through Lebanon” in David Wallis’ Killed: Great Journalism Too Hot to Print. I was saving it for when I got a passport.

Guess what I got this week. A passport.

That’s right—I finally applied a few weeks ago and the passport booklet arrived this week, dark blue and filled with nationalistic images and quotes. I had been thinking about getting a passport for seven or eight years, mostly because two close friends talked about taking me to Europe—which obviously has not happened and may never happen at this rate. Regardless, I knew it was probably a good idea to get one anyway.

Though I was waiting to apply when I lost a dozen pounds or so—something that has not happened despite resolutions to do so for years—my hand was forced because I have a meeting in Toronto next month. I need to go to Toronto for the annual conference in April anyway, so I would have had to apply within the next few months no matter what. Weighing in at 192 pounds needed to do and now I am ready to travel abroad. Getting a passport is also a New Year’s resolution I can mark as “accomplished.” Woo hoo!

Am I excited to finally travel internationally for the first time. Hell yes! For an American, there may not be as much of a culture shock when visiting Canada (I’ll find out, though), but it is a different country where things are done a little differently. I love learning about those differences and will no doubt love seeing and experiencing them firsthand (maybe not all of them, though).

“With Your U.S. Passport, the World is Yours!” proclaims an accompanying brochure. Holding the booklet for the first time, I could not help feeling that the world was now truly open to me—except a couple places, which don’t interest me anyway. Just think of all the places I can go and all the beer I can drink!

Speaking of which, about that trip to Europe you guys have been talking about for years (you know who you are) . . .

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