A passport isn’t important because it’s a basic tool that allows you to travel outside of your own country. It isn’t just important because while you travel, in many cases, it’s your only form of identification. A passport is important because it’s a symbol of travel. I don’t mean as a status symbol, although collecting stamps and visas can be fun, but a passport is an important psychological symbol.
Did I just use the term psychological? Yes. I am a psychologist? No, and this isn’t a scientifically tested thesis, but I was thinking about this when my friend and I were talking the other day. Her passport had expired and she mentioned that she wanted to get a new one. She said she felt a little claustrophobic now since she couldn’t leave Canada. While it’s been a few years since she has travelled internationally I understood what she meant.
A passport is a basic requirement of people who want to travel outside their own countries. It allows you to physically go to another country, another place. More importantly it allows you to believe you can travel.
I got my first passport in 2005 to go to Seattle. At that time I didn’t need a passport. I could have driven across the border with only my driver’s license, but having a passport allowed me to feel like a traveller, and it got me into a traveller mindset. I began to see that travel wasn’t an inaccessible, impossible act. Once I had my passport my mind could easily accept that travel was possible.
If I didn’t have a passport I wouldn’t have thought about going to New York twice or Europe, or going to Mexico. Since I have a passport I know I can travel to different places. Instead of thinking about how I’d like to go somewhere someday I think well I have my passport. Where can I go? Like master key that open doors a passport opens the doors to travel.
Maybe you’re unsure of where you want to travel to. Maybe you don’t think you can go anywhere, that there’s not enough time or money for travel. Get your passport anyways. Take that first step. Chances are once you have your passport you’ll be thinking about the travel possibilities rather than the impossibilities.
Note: At The Travel Blog Exchange conference in Vancouver I found out about a great project called The Passport Party Project which will give 100 girls their very first passport. No matter which country you’re from a passport is an important, and life-changing possession to own. I hope you will check out The Passport Party Project and support this great cause.