I was rummaging around looking for my current passport and stumbled on a couple of old ones. So I stopped and looked at them. Here were little records of my past…
When I first went abroad I and my siblings were all listed on my mother’s passport. We set sail from Fort Lauderdale, landing briefly in Bermuda and finished in Southhampton. We lived in London for 5~6 months and flew to the Netherlands where we rented a canal boat and traveled the canals.
We next traveled in 1970, again I shared the passport with my siblings (but not my mother). I was probably 10 when the picture was taken (8, and 7 for my siblings). In those days passports were only good for 5 years. This time we set sail from New York and stopped briefly in Cork (Ireland) before landing in Southampton. This time we stayed about a year in London. We went to Wales (in those days you didn’t need a passport to go to Wales from England), traveled the canals around Oxford (one family in a boat, to say nothing of the dog), followed Hadrian’s Wall, and made several trips to France (I was sick at the bayeux tapestrey). We went home via the Mediterranean, a visit which is not reflected in passport stamps. I don’t know why. I went to sleep on the train in Victoria Station and woke up crossing the French countryside on the way to Paris — before the chunnel. Stopping in Venice, Athens, Naples, Lisbon then across the Atlantic to Halifax (as it then was) and finally New York.
In 1977 I got my own passport for the first time. We all went to England together (by airplane this time), but I only stayed a month and came back to the US for my first year of college. I went back for Christmas Hols, but missed the family trip to the south of France where they sailed the Canal du Midi near the Pyrenees.
I must have renewed that passport and made some later trips to visit my parents in London in the 1980s.
My passport from 1986-1996 was my first Earthwatch passport. On it I went to Brazil, Belize, Thailand, Madagascar (several times), Bolivia. And, of course, England and France, Germany, Belgium. In 1987 the US had managed to annoy the French and I actually needed to go down to the consulate in Los Angeles and wait in line to get a visa. I only had one page left for new visas when the passport was finished.
England and France got bored with stamping my passport I don’t see any marks from them, but I went there frequently. Madagascar took up a whole page with each visa, and then another page the one time I extended my visa there. I made many trips to Madagascar and again I wondered if I’d run out of visa room. I didn’t, not quite. Also Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Mauritius, and Réunion. Technically Réunion is a part of France (the way Hawaii is part of the US) but they were not bored with stamping my passport and the stamp says “Réunion” not France. I made a trip to Brest to talk about fonts (but the French were still bored with me and it doesn’t show), and another to Xathi in Greece. I was also taking bicycling trips with my parents (and siblings) through the French countryside.
Maybe I should go somewhere…