If you don’t talk to us on a regular basis, you may not be aware that Rhiannon and I have a little trip to Mexico planned coming up. Mexico, all-inclusive resort, the beach, and maybe some Mayan ruins if we are really feeling ambitious. Yep. Should be fun. Especially now that I will be able to go for sure. When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to go to France as part of a class trip over the summer. This occurred in 1998. I had just turned 16 and wasn’t it cool that this passport thingy lasts for 10 years? Who in their right mind would ever be 26 in the first place anyway?
Fast forward 9 years, 11 months later, to the next time that naive former 16 year old decides to do some international traveling just a year after the U.S. put the smack down on going south and coming back. Originally, Rhiannon and I had been discussing going to Europe in June, so she went ahead and got a passport last fall. But me? No. I just had to renew mine sometime. Of course I’ll get around to that. And then that vacation dissolved amidst some other plans and the horrid dollar-to-Euro exchange rate.
But still, no worries, because we had a place to stay in Hawaii for free. Vacation it up. And that fell through. Ok, Rhiannon and I got together with Tyler and his girlfriend and discussed some plans – we’re going to Mexico. (I need a new passport). Around April. (My passport is good until May – hooray!!) And at the time all this was decided, I still had plenty of time to send in my renewal, but how cool is it that I didn’t have to. I could put it off. I am a pro at putting it off. Why do today what can be languish on a to-do list tomorrow? That’s one of my many mottos anyway. It’s also the biggest reason my watch battery has been dead for over two months. Seriously – I can wait, I won’t bother me.
So I went through life, occasionally pausing in my days to do my “I’m-going-Mexico- and-I-don’t-need-a-new-passport” dance. And then I was reading a what-to-do checklist for traveling outside the country when there at the bottom, it said “Make sure you have 6 valid months on your passport for after your planned travel dates.”
So I started researching – some places said “YES OF COURSE YOU NEED A LONG VALID PASSPORT” and some places were all “It’s still 2007, right? Bring your photo ID.” Not. Helpful.
So I called the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C. They said I should probably get it renewed. The Embassy. Probably. I might be ok without it. Not reassuring at all.
So I got some pictures done in a shirt color I wouldn’t have picked (who wears a white shirt on a light background?) and sent off my one good passport in an envelope to somewhere out on the east coast with a big check and an expedited application form along side. 8 days (real days, not business) I had a new passport in my hand, complete with bad picture and everything.
I’m going to Mexico.
And the bad picture? Maybe I’ll give it another go in 9 years, 11 months.