Before We Age

Thinking Too Much About Passports


As we plan our move to South America, one of the most annoying aspects we have to deal with is gaining permission to enter and eventually stay there. I wish we could just go and then people there could see us for who we are and welcome us based on our character or some other quality, like playing an oboe.

Instead, we have to jump through the hoops. When I stop and think about it, I get it. Despite my annoyance at the whole bureaucratic process, I understand why a Passport is a good thing.

Venturing into someone else’s claimed territory unannounced or without proper credentials is often a sure way to get into trouble. It’s universal.

If you don’t have the proper credentials, you can’t go backstage at a concert, you can’t walk into the Pentagon, and you certainly can’t just stop by to visit Donald Trump at his home(s). At any of these places, there’s a team of security ready to pounce on you if venture too far without proper credentials and clearance. Cain had to be “marked” as he entered into new territory so people would not kill him. Gabriel, in the movie The Mission, had to impress the locals through his oboe playing.

While I still find it annoying that people are unable to travel more freely, I can appreciate the value of a Passport given how fearful we all are of each other. A Passport is a decent answer to a universal problem. I am thankful that as long as we pay the dues and pass through through all the hoops, we’ll be welcomed upon arrival and not tossed out. This is a good thing.

And so, Maggie and I have updated our Passports. That’s step one to making sure we have the proper credentials. Now we need to look into immunizations and visas. Those are much more time-consuming.

Passport book renewal fee: $110 x 2 = $220
Process length: 6-10 weeks
More info at U.S. State Department website