My passport expired in March, 2006. I’ve had my new one for three years.
As part of my “what do I need this for?” crusade, I decided to throw away the old passport. But not before I looked at every country stamp. It was like a travelogue. There were stamps from France, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland and New Zealand, all places where we had bicycled, first with groups and once we figured out how to do it, on our own. There were stamps from Zimbabwe, South Africa and Botswana where we took our grown-up sons to celebrate the start of a new century and two important birthdays.
We visited Czechoslovakia and Germany one summer after biking in Switzerland. We went to Mexico. We spent some time in Chile to visit our son Jeremy who lived there for a year. We rented a flat in England for a week one March, and met a friend there on his way back from climbing Kilimanjaro. On that trip we ate an outrageously expensive birthday meal at a restaurant that I had to call a month ahead in order to get a reservation.
When I got that passport in 1996, I had no idea that I would visit all those amazing places. Turning its pages now brought a flood of wonderful memories.
I couldn’t throw it out.