A tale of two passports

You might recall that a few weeks ago, I visited the Swiss embassy in London to apply for my new passport. This morning I was back there again, this time picking up said passport.


I love it. I love that it's bright red and shiny and new, I love that I'll finally be able to go through the expedited gates at customs (I couldn't with my old passport, since it wasn't a biometric one), and I love the promise of much more travel across the years to come.

But what I really want to write about today isn't my new passport. It's my old one. A quick, perhaps silly, moment of gratitude for this little red buddy of mine, who's actually been a pretty big part of my life for the past almost-10 years.

Flipping through its pages, I'm reminded of so many adventures. Living six months in Singapore on a student visa. Charging straight through the border in Laos (because Swiss is inexplicably one of only two non-Asian citizenships that don't require a visa to visit). Moving to London last year without needing any sponsorship (Oh Brexit, you're still breaking my heart).

This baby has gotten me into Russia, Australia, and Myanmar. It's come with me to Japan, Panama, and India. And more. It's full of fun stickers and stamps to remind me!

I've been told before that as a dual Swiss-American citizen, I have the two best passports in the world. That's definitely debatable: Earlier this year, the annual list of "best passports" actually put Germany at #1, based on how many countries its citizens can enter visa-free (177/218). The U.S. is tied in fourth place (174), and Switzerland is tied in sixth place (172). And I'm not sure there's such a thing as a "best" passport anyway - I'm hoping that most of us can feel proud when we hold our passports, not because they happen to get us into other countries, but because they represent some part of our identity. Perhaps that's cheesy, but I do feel proud, grateful, and lucky, and as such, I suppose I do think I have the "best" passports for ME.  

So I've got a new document now that says who I am, and the old one has been hole-punched and stamped one last time with a big "ANNULÉ" mark. But even though it's no longer valid, the memories are still there.

And there are so many more memories to be made. It's such a big world out there.