Monday, December 3, 2012

The Magic Passport

Sher and Ev in Paris
Feeling somewhat Orelandbound this afternoon…you know, the feeling that you are stuck in your little corner of America, making an endless loop of work, grocery store and home—with a trip to the mall a wild-and-crazy adventure. Been awhile since I’ve left the greater Philly area. Been awhile since I’ve had my passport stamped.

The Seyfried children all own passports with multiple stamps. They have been to: France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Uruguay, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Guatemala. Though these travels were completely self-funded, the kids know they are still lucky to have had these chances to see so much of the world at such young ages.  They may hail from Oreland, but they have never been Orelandbound.

"Yum, Yum," said the Thai termites

Seyfried Passport Follies include several stories of loss. Sheridan used his passport as basic ID for years (he is still driver’s license-less) without incident. Now that he has a photo ID, he’s lost that precious book. Luckily he discovered this early enough to re-apply before he and Ya-Jhu take off for their meet-the-relatives trip to Taiwan later this month. When Rose spent a year in Thailand, she put her passport in a wooden box for safe keeping.  MUCH to her dismay, when she opened the box, the passport had been (horrors) munched on by hungry Thai termites! Evan is currently on vacation in South America, and left his passport in a taxicab in Montevideo. God and the taxi driver were good, however, and man and book were swiftly reunited.

I didn’t own a passport until I was 43. I’d seen a decent amount of my own country, but none of others (except pre-passport Canada). Since childhood, I’d longed to see the world, but it was, it seemed, not meant to be. My mom had had similar yearnings, particularly to see Ireland. Mom died without a passport, alas, and I’ll always be sad we didn’t make sure she got on that plane. 

The ground was broken by my trip to Jamaica in 2000 with Rose and sister C, and not long after I went on mission trips to Central America. My worldview has expanded drastically. I still long to go to Europe, Asia and Africa…and now I dare to hope I will live to accomplish my goals. 

My advice to the passport-less? Invest in one if you can! The world is out there to be experienced, and it is a crime to be forever Orelandbound (or its equivalent). You truly never know what opportunities may open up for you to travel far, and it’s smart to be prepared. My Steve is applying for his first passport, and I think it’s a wonderful statement of optimism.

This late-fall evening, I pull out my passport and dream of journeys yet to come, future stamps from Spain and Scotland, Tanzania and Vietnam. I feel hopeful and excited, and a whole lot less Orelandbound. 

Rose in Jamaica May 2000
This late-fall evening, I wish you the same hope and excitement. Send me a postcard, if you think of it.

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