Aside from being my favorite accessory, “the little blue book” is undeniably my most valued possession. Granting me access to explore the unknown, it’s my uncut key to the world. I’m ashamed to admit as much as I adore my passport these past few years it’s power has been underestimated. Just last week I applied for my very first international visa. Having only traveled to countries in which a visa was not required or easily obtained by purchase, this would be the first time an application and consulate visit would be involved. Never truly understanding what went into applying for a visa the process was literally foreign to me. *Pun intended*
Clueless as to what exactly was needed once I booked my flight I quickly took to the internet to find out the next step. Google became the key tool in my visa process. Literally researching the necessary steps for hours I finally educated myself with enough information to begin my application. After applying I gathered all the required documents which included flight reservation, invitation letter, photo copies of passport, bank statements for proof of income and most importantly having the necessary shots and vaccinations. As I checked off all the requirements I was finally ready for my consulate visit. Thinking the hard part was over after paying and applying I was ever so wrong. The consulate was literally a mad house, between people applying for both visas and passports I felt as if I was never going to be seen. After taking a number and waiting online for what felt like forever I finally made it to the window where I turned in my application and attached requirements. After being approved I waited patiently for the return of my passport. Minutes went by and the man who assisted me asked if I needed something else. I remember laughing and telling him he forgot to return my passport. He laughed back and replied "I know, you come back next week to pick it up along with your visa." In complete shock I looked at the ticket he handed me and that's exactly what it read.
The minute I stepped into the elevator to leave the separation anxiety kicked in. Instantly I became anxious and began thinking about all the worse things that could possibly happen to my pretty little passport. I cringed at ever having to get a replacement before its proper expiration. I tend to have sentimental attachments to things but this was so different. It was then that I realized just how much my passport meant to me. Aside from the obvious attachment issues I realized how naked I felt without my favorite accessory. It was literally like leaving the house without my purse. Although one week wasn't much time I couldn't help but think what if I decided to take a short trip in between awaiting the arrival of my visa or even worse what if I didn't get my visa in enough time for my scheduled departure. I felt stranded and that feeling was a first for me. Gathering my thoughts I realized that despite having had my passport from young there were so many things that were privy. It encouraged me to further research all that I was unfamiliar with. It was until this moment that I discovered the power of the passport! I needed to know exactly what holding an American passport granted me and I needed to know now!