The End of an Era: My Passport Takes Its Last Breath

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My passport expires tomorrow. It marks the end of an era for me - that decade of constant travel within Latin America is over. I was one page away from having a full passport. Today, when I should have been packing for Texas, I flipped through the pages nostalgically, remembering the people I met in country after country, remembering the hell I went through to get one of the resident visas, and smiling for and missing those friends I left behind.

Truthfully, that last one was the main reason for the nostalgia. I love traveling, yes; love airports and flying, yes but what I miss more than anything is the relational part of international travel, connecting with a person despite the differences, creating deep relationships cross-culturally and even cross-linguistically. Through those connections, I've formed friendships with people I otherwise wouldn't have talked to or maybe not even met. Without either one of us knowing, it is those people that have formed me into who I am - both emotionally and spiritually.

My passport expires tomorrow (or today, now that it's 12:30am), but a new adventure starts. Tomorrow, I begin the two-day car ride to Harlingen, Texas to complete the second half of my postulancy. It's a different journey now than what started a decade ago - it's one without stamps, red-eye flights or visa bargaining. (There are, however, applications involved) 

Later on today, after some passport nostalgia and packing, I was led to the new international Daughters of Charity website through an email I received. I was drawn to the "where we are" section and I got sucked in. 

As of January 2012, we are 17,743 Sisters. In ninety-three countries.
Let that sink in, Amanda.

23 countries in Africa.
16 countries in Asia.
3 countries in Oceania (Australia, Cook Islands and Fiji)
28 countries in Europe.
ALL of Latin America.
ALL of North America.

My passport may be expiring but I have a feeling this journey I'm on now, this decade to come, may be  even more international than I think...not in the sense of uncomfortable and awkward airport naps, or visa headaches, or pretty stamps, but in that relational sense I love.
And that makes me very excited for the decade ahead. :)

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