A few days ago I had to go renew my passport after almost five years of globe-trotting. Because my US visa is there and still active, I was able to keep it and it’ll hopefully let me in when I land in Phoenix next tuesday. The truth is I am no collector in general. I’m just too lazy, nomad or inconstant to store items of a kind and keep them with me over time, always having it in mind to buy a new addition when I see the chance. I am however a huge fan of physical objects that represent much more than the grams they weight. And the passport I’ve been carrying in my bag over the last five years is probably the best collector of memories and other weightless things that I can think of.
On the bus to my next task that morning, I started flipping through the pages and, before I got to my destination, I had traveled around half the planet. I started on the first page, where a 22-years-old Dani looks like sleepy and unhappy. I remember that spring morning as if it had been last may: I was in a rush to get the passport in time to take off to South Korea and the lady at the desk told me she wouldn’t take the picture I had because it was too old, so I had to go take a new one at 8am, hence the outcome. Then as I turned the pages, a stream of flashes started coming to mind in completely out of any chronological order, just the way customs officers put the country stamp when you cross the border. The US, Korea, Taiwan (or Republic of China, as it reads), Chile, Cambodia, Thailand, India, China or Morocco. And these gave rise to all the other ones that don’t get to the passport but did leave a stamp on me, like most of Europe or Mexico. I am certainly different today than I was that morning when I was photographed, and I’m sure for the most part it’s an improvement.
Changing years is an important event because I think it forces us, if only a little bit, to realize time passes, a new spring, summer, fall and winter are to come and hopefully the ones that just went by gave us all something more than a few more grams in the belly or a couple of new gray hairs. In my case, I can only feel fortunate for these incredible twelve months and hope they don’t stop when the clock rings the bells tonight, so I’m going to pretend I’m just celebrating the change of passports and that I now have a full set of new pages to be stamped. Cheers for all the new adventures to come, Peace and Love.