Fun With A Passport

  • Michael Denmon
  • Coarse
Fun With A Passport

I want to travel!” is a common response when speaking to others about your plans for traveling abroad.

No.” is also a common response when the same person who wants to travel is asked if they have a passport.

The act of international travel has never been easier than it is currently. Apps that guarantee to get you the cheapest flight, sharpest hotel, or best combined package, are available for any type of device. International phone coverage makes staying connected a breeze.

Netflix is accessible in 190 countries.

While approximately 48% of Americans currently have a passport, compared to only 5% in 1990, many Americans fail to use their passport to its greatest extent.

Why are Americans so hesitant to travel overseas?

Why are so many American passport pages left blank and devoid of visa stamps and stickers?

The Power to Travel

One of the challenges of getting Americans outside of the US is that many people believe the travel process must be complicated. After all, if the form and process required to obtain a passport are so complex, surely the act of using the passport to travel internationally is equally as difficult or more so.

What many people don’t realize is that the American passport is one of the strongest and most welcomed passports in the world. Only a handful of EU countries rank higher in the number of countries that can be traveled to without requiring a visa in advance. Americans can travel to 188 countries worldwide by simply getting on a plane with a valid passport. That leaves only five countries that require advance planning and red tape.

And all things considered, those are the countries you might not want to visit anyway.

Travel Makes You Brave

The next challenge for many Americans regarding travel is that going to a new country can be daunting. New languages and new customs can be scary.

Until you get there and realize that people are the same in so many ways all over the world.

Customs and languages may vary, but most people want to welcome you to their country. They want to be hospitable. They want American dollars. Or at least American credit cards.

The scariest part of any adventure is always the first step into the unknown. Taking the leap and venturing beyond your comfort zone is the best way to grow and have valuable experiences in life. Considering that America started and has continued to grow by people taking those same leaps makes it even more evident that Americans need to get back to their routes and use their passports for something more than a secondary form of identification.

Travel to Discover

If life is about discovery, then a valid passport is the key to unlocking that discovery. There are different ways to travel, all with their advantages and challenges.

Solo travel is probably the most difficult form of travel for Americans, but it is also the form of travel that tells us the most about ourselves.

Do you have the strength to be uncomfortable and learn from it?

Many solo travelers hit the ground running when entering a new country. Some solo travelers stay in their comfort zone by staying in their hotel room watching re-runs of the TV show Friends. Until they realize the amazing experience they are passing up on to watch a rom-com with canned laughter.

Traveling with a partner or friend is always great because it builds shared memories and teaches you about how to work with others. And deal with the annoying habits of others. But the differing ideas and ideals also open up your own perspective to enjoy an aspect of life you may not have encountered otherwise.

Traveling with a son or daughter typically starts as inspiring and meaningful. But when your four-year-old doesn’t understand the magnitude of seeing the Sistine Chapel in person, and instead wants to watch Bluey on their tablet, the magic disappears pretty quickly. Kids have their bucket lists, too.

Regardless of how you travel, or with whom, the important thing is to pull your passport out of the lockbox and start using it.

As the world continues to change and skew further away from what we may have known or valued even last month, travel may become harder for Americans to accomplish. Or, it may become easier.

Travel will always be rewarding, however, no matter how the world changes.

So pick an app, pick a country, and put that blue-covered passport to work.

Photo by Levi Ventura on Unsplash