Two weeks ago I had my most precious possession pierced. It was very emotional.
There are plenty of people in this world who have the possibility to get a powerful passport, but do not truly make use of it. It’s a shame.
I now believe a strong passport is a gateway to another world, which should always be used to the fullest. It is an access ticket to unimaginable adventures and life lessons that no school can teach you.
It also holds the most personal stories. Let’s have a look inside mine.
You see that oval thing in the middle of the page? That’s America.
I still get the goosebumps – and tears in my eyes, fuck – when I look at this stamp.
This stamp represents the end of a very long struggle my mother went through. She was very sick and making it to New York was one of her last wishes. So that’s where we went.
I remember arriving at Times Square. I couldn’t believe my own eyes. It was like driving onto a film set. I had seen Times Square so many times in Hollywood movies, it felt unreal when we got there ourselves. The many lights of commercialisation were twinkling, and everything was just amazing.
Although New York is one of the largest cities in the world, it felt like a cosy warm blanket when I walked through her streets.
I am extremely afraid of going back there, because it will always be the city that was one of the last places where my mother was enjoying being alive.
And that’s what New York will always represent for me.
Ok. Next one. This article is getting way heavier than I intended it to be.
You see that ugly black stamp which sais ‘REPULIKA HRVATSKA’?
That’s the remainder of my very first solo traveling experience. Location: Eastern-Europe.
This stamp I collected in the train heading for Hungary. All other countries (Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia) let me in without any stamps, since I was (and still am) a citizen of the European Union.
This particular stamp I got from an extremely unkind beast of a woman, which was drunk of authority. I was eating a sandwich while she asked for my passport. So I gave it to her, while eating the sandwich. Her face almost exploded when I took a bite, while she was checking my passport. I remember she made a tremendous scene in the fully packed train I was in.
At that time I didn’t really have much confidence, so I felt guilty for doing absolutely nothing wrong.
The whole solo backpacking thing was a facade anyway. I just had broken up with my girlfriend of that time, and I was doubting that decision every minute of my trip – for the full three weeks. I found it very hard to make friends and – although I thought I was – I wasn’t nearly open-minded enough to fully enjoy the experience.
After my Eastern Europe trip I actually swore to never travel solo again.
You see that large sticker with a hole in the middle? That’s one year later, traveling solo again.
Just like the previous year to Eastern Europe, I actually booked the trip together with my (newly gained) girlfriend.
Unfortunately, just before the trip, we (read: I) broke up – again. This kind of forced me to travel alone – again.
This is also the moment my grandma started to make jokes like ‘maybe next time you have a girlfriend, you should book a last-minute’. She sometimes still does.
This trip changed my whole perspective of traveling solo though. I made it work this time.
Since I was still having trouble making friends with complete strangers, I decided to contact a local through Couchsurfing – in every place I was planning to go to.
It made the experience a lot better. It would make me ready to do the next big thing: working abroad for one year, on the other side of the world.
More of that in the second, and final part (have to be written still).
So what stories has your passport in it?