My passport expires this month. As you might imagine, based on the name of my little blog, my passport’s a special thing.
I can remember when I first got this passport. And I remember thinking what a long time away August 2014 seemed to be, and suddenly it’s here.
Generally, I am on top of these things and would already have a new one. Except it struck me, I’d be facing blank pages. It would no longer be my old friend, filled with my favorite memories.
The pure horror of getting my passport renewed; the crisp, untraveled and inkless paper, no stamps to document my adventures? What the hell was that about? I was crushed. But that was so 2004. The only thing constant is change. And so it goes.
Apparently, though, at some point in the past ten years U.S. citizens could add 24-pages to existing passports. This was, assuming a passport hadn’t already expired. I wondered, was this just a cruel urban myth?
Not that my passport is full. Compared to some friends it’s relatively empty, (although, it sure would help if customs agents would put the stamps where I asked them to, not wherever they flipped it open to, because nothing drives me crazy like a stamp that is placed in front of older trips).
Still, the one thing I decided was that I wasn’t going to surrender my hard-earned stamps. Call me a nerd, but I get such joy flipping through my passport looking at the stamps and remember something different from each trip. I lost my old passport, and stamps to France, Switzerland, Scotland, Germany and a half-dozen other wonderful spots. And I never quite got over it.
Enough tripping down memory lane. Back to the actual passport renewal … I was fascinated by the possibility of someone adding to my existing passport by sewing more pages into it. If it was real, I wanted to confirm it, and blog about the process. And, I was able to confirm online that it was, in fact, possible.
But there were a few necessary steps to initiate the process. I started by calling the passport office in January to make arrangements. I got a response directing me to the state department’s legal office. I never got a return call or email. Disappointing, but unfortunately, predictable.
Since I live in the District of Colombia, I am in walking distance to the passport office to have my photo taken and get the proper form. The information is online but sometimes confirming these details with an actual human is important when dealing with government agencies. It’s kind of like that old carpenter’s saying, “measure twice, cut once.” Especially important when you have to temporarily surrender your passport.
I got all my forms filled out, made copies of my passport, and proceeded to the passport office. I was ready to rock.
Except that I didn’t bring my checkbook with me. Doesn’t it just figure that credit cards aren’t accepted? Our Government will only take a check, or money order to renew a passport. Measure three times, when it’s the government.
Anyway, my little blue book is off getting a “facelift” of sorts. I feel almost naked without it, and look forward to its return.