Goodbye Passport: Looking Back at Memories

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My new and old passport

As you know, we are currently in Denmark. We had to go back before leaving for our next big adventure, since my passport had expired.

We wouldn’t have needed two and a half weeks in Denmark though. Our bureaucracy is pretty well here, I ordered my passport on Monday and received it in the mail on Wednesday! That’s some fast processing…

However, that is not the fastes I’ve ever got my passport. Let me tell you the five years old story about my old passport, that recently expired

On July 31st I got up very early. We had to be at the aiport by 5am to catch our plane to New York City. I was going with my dad, his girlfriend and her son. I hate getting up early, but when I know it’s for adventure I don’t mind at all.

We were tired, though. Waiting in line to check in in Copenhagen was a mess. The planes for the US are just larger and thus many more people are flying.

After waiting about half an hour in line, we were finally at check-in. We handed the lady our passports and waited for her to check us in and give us our boarding passes.

Suddenly, the check in lady frowned. She looked directly at my and said:

“Sorry, do you have another passport? This one expired four months ago.”

I looked at my dad, confused. What was she talking about!? She gave me back the passport and I checked the dates. It had expired. I started sweating. No passport, no trip. I was freaking out. I had looked forward to going to New York for months!

“Don’t worry. You can get the expiration date renewed at the Police’s office”

She pointed in the direction of the Police’s office who are at the airport. We went over there and asked to have my passport’s expiration date moved.

The policeman started filling out a form and asked, without looking at me:

“So, where are you going today?” 

The second I told him I was going to New York, he stopped filling out the form and handed me back my expired passport.

“I’m sorry, but you’re not getting into the United States without a valid passport. I can’t help you, I’m very sorry.”

I nearly started crying. I couldn’t believe what was happening. And I have no idea why none of us had noticed that my passport had expired before the trip. We normally have everything under control!

Fast forward a couple of hours: I had said goodbye to my dad at the airport. He was on his way to NYC. He had given me a piece of paper with his signature, that secured me to be able to order a new passport by myself – it was half a year before I turned 18, so I wasn’t able to do it without it.

Since my parents are divorced, my mom had faxed me her signature (she lives in the other part of the country) and I was running around in Copenhagen, getting a photo for my passport, filling out papers, talking to people to get a new plane ticket…

By 4pm I could pick up my new passport at the place where they print them. I had ordered it by 11.30am, so it took them just over 4 hours to get it ready for me.

The next day, I boarded a plane to New York City. It was the first time I traveled by myself and it went perfectly. My dad picked me up at the airport, and though I had missed the first day of the trip it turned out to be amazing!

And I learned that I could do a lot by myself. It was a chock, but everything worked out.


Because of the amazing story of how I got my passport, I must admit that I’m a little sad getting a new one. The passport holds so many stamps and memories for me that I would love to take with me.

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Because I was under 18 when I got the passport, and therefore still a child, my passport was only valid for five years. In those five years I’ve managed to get:

  • 7 stamps from entering the US
  • 2 stamps for entering and leaving Thailand
  • 2 stamps for entering and leaving Turkey.

Because I’m a European citizen, I don’t get stamps when entering European countries (bummer!). But this passport has been used quiet frequently. In the past five years I have travelled a lot. This passport has been with me on the most epic and life changing adventures of my life so far.

However, the page in my passport I’m most sad about saying goodbye to is this one:

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My US visa from when I was in San Francisco for four months. The trip changed me forever and because of the people I met in San Francisco I gained enough belief in myself to start travelling the world forever. That was the start of my digital nomad life.

A New Beginning…

But I’m happy. And I’m excited. Excited for all the new adventures I’ll have with my new passport. This one is valid for 10 years. Imagine that. How amazing will my collection of stamps be in 10 years? I don’t know yet. But I can’t wait to travel the world with this passport in my hands.

A Danish passport is one of the best passports you can hold if you want to travel the world. Yep – that’s true!

Denmark comes in second on the list of best passports in the world. That means that we can travel to 172 destinations around the world visa-free. That’s a huge plus when travelling the world is all you do!

Do you feel a connection with your passport? Or am I just weird?

Celia Schow is one of the founders of NomadicDanes.com. Her goal in life is to live a rich life full of experiences and great memories.

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2 comments on Goodbye Passport: Looking Back at Memories

    • Celia Schow
      December 4, 2013 at 6:16 pm (5 months ago)

      Trust me, Freya, now you can wake me up in the middle of the night and I’ll be able to tell you when my passport expires! I know it for certain now, becuase I don’t want to experience it again!

      However, it makes a great story that I love to tell now, since I made it to NYC :D

      Reply

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