While I’m wasting the rest of my life in Seattle, I recently decided that it’s time for me to begin truly pursuing one of my lifelong dreams: International travel. And I decided that I’m finally in a good enough position to be able to do it.
The first step to overseas travel, of course, is figuring out just what the hell it is I’m going to be doing. But everyone I ever knew who’s been overseas tells me that’s more of a learn-as-you-do-it experience, so with that now out of the way, it’s now time to begin work on the second step: Paperwork!
Yes, paperwork. One day, a long long time ago, some government officials sat down and asked themselves how they could make money off potential travelers while also discouraging the poorer people who propped them up from leaving their homes for three days. The thing they came up with was to make everyone pay a fee for a piece of paper with your information on it. You know, something that wasn’t your birth certificate, voter registration, tax record, or horse license.
I’ve never applied for a passport before, but I did learn one important thing so far about doing it: There’s no shortcutting a way around it. If you’re an aspiring traveler who frequents travel websites, you’re probably familiar with all the online ads you see about how you can get your passport rushed to you for $100 with a next-day delivery. No fuss, no muss, a deal that looks suspiciously great. I’m a natural skeptic, so this was another point where I again turned to my globetrotting friends. They confirmed my skepticism.
Getting my hands on a proper passport means doing it the hard way. Get the paperwork, get the birth certificate, get the old New York driver’s license, and fill everything out by hand. Pay the damned fee. So here I’m finally off to the post office now to grab the forms and ask every question that I can think of.
I haven’t figured out where I want to go first yet, but it damn well better be worth it.