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Why Everyone Should Have a Passport

I was one years old when I received my first passport and I have no recollection of taking my passport picture and going with my mom in a stroller to the Venezuelan city hall to get my first official identification document. However, this passport opened the doors for me to make my first trip to the U.S. when I was two years old and lived in Michigan while my parents obtained their Masters degrees. With that passport, I had traveled a lot back and forth between Venezuela and the U.S. but it also took me to countries such as England, Brazil, France, etc., until I officially became a U.S. Citizen in 2002.

I had just graduated from high school and had all my paperwork ready for me to show that I was now an American citizen and ready to own my very first passport. I was so giddy to get my passport picture, fill out all these fancy documents, and get a check from my mom so I can run over to the post office and get my first U.S. passport. That memory I remember it like it was yesterday and that it is one that I will never forget. Hence the reason why I joined the Passport Party Project! It gives young girls in the U.S. the chance to get their very own passport for free. They get to experience everything with their parents and/or loved ones and see how cool it is to get a passport (which interesting enough only one-third of the U.S. population owns one).

So on U.S. Passport Day (March 9th, 2013) I met up with Soleil and her mom at a local Chicago post office to get her passport. March 9th meant so much to her, especially since that was her birthday and now it has another meaning, it is the day she got her first passport. She was beaming with excitement when we got to the post office. We were the first ones to arrive to the designated passport area and had to wait a little bit until it officially opened.

To kill time, I showed Soleil how cool it is to have a passport and I brought with me all of my passports (expired and new) so she can check out all the cool stamps I have from all the 31 countries I have visited around the world. As she was going through them she said "You went to Egypt?" I said "Yes about three years ago right before the revolution started." She was so excited to meet someone who had been to a country she has always wanted to visit, especially because of its rich history which she has learned in school.

I asked Soleil what she wishes her first stamp to be, she said: Philippines. She wants to go visit the country where many of her family members are from and of course explore the cool beaches. She said if she can't make it to Philippines then her next ideal stamp would be New Zealand. Ladies and gents: this girl is trying to go as far as she can! 

image source: lonelyplanet.com
It was fantastic spending a morning with her and learning about all of her dreams and hopes that this passport will give her. It reminded me of mine when I first received my U.S. passport and I never stopped dreaming and traveling to all the places I set my mind to go visit. I encourage everyone, no matter what age, to go get your passport! It will open the doors to a world that you only dreamed and trust me when I say you won't stop exploring the world once you receive that first stamp on your brand new passport.

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