oh passport, my passport

Okay, bear with me. This is an ode to one of my oldest and dearest companions, my (now expired) passport. I’m a different person for owning this document. And that’s the truth.

It’s time to renew and it’s making me sentimental. This baby was issued in 2002 when I was 20 years old. True to character, it arrived two days before I was set to leave for Sweden for one month. Or maybe it was just two weeks that time? Point being, it arrived with much stress and last minute-ness. Reminds me a bit of right now. A decade later and I’m filling out the renewal forms at a pace which is stressing Aki out quite seriously. So I’m getting on it. For real.


Flipping through these pages brings back a flood of memories.

I remember my first Christmas in Sweden with all of the candles and cozy warmth. I remember getting “stranded” in Copenhagen for two days. I remember my first European road trip through Spain, France and Italy. I remember wanting to scream from pain because I just had  to wear heels all day in Milan. I remember thinking I was going to die in the mountains of Andorra, stranded without gas. I remember an over-night boat ride from Stockholm to Tallin, Estonia. I remember my first time riding a tour bus alone through Madrid and feeling truly alive with the energy of the city. I remember what torture it is to go hiking or sightseeing after dancing until 7 in the morning. (Oh Spanish nights). I remember quitting a traveling nanny job in Finland without any idea how I was going to retrieve my luggage still back in Madrid. (Long story). I remember the incredible food and charm of Portugal, and especially the late midnight dinners with a woman from Paraguay who only spoke Spanish and a 70 year old cook from Portugal who only spoke French and Portuguese. I remember how proud I was to make my first flight and train connections on my own. (If you know how directionally challenged I am, you’d be proud too). I remember falling in love with Barcelona. I remember how loud and big I felt in Tokyo and how fresh all of the food was. I remember the breath-taking fjords and crazily expensive beers on honeymoon in Norway. And I remember my first time in Croatia, meeting all of my husband’s family and friends.

remember the feeling | hennablossom.com

some moments you just don’t want to risk forgetting.

I remember immense joy and also deep disappointment & fear of the unknown when plans didn’t go as hoped. I remember feeling that the world is so small, and also so wonderfully vast.

Although I have traveled far less than many, I’m pretty sure I’ve bought more ONE-way tickets than most. “Away” was my main pursuit and fixation in my younger 20s. I needed  to be “away” and “away” taught me so much, brought dear people into my life, and helped me to grow and overcome so much that kept me down.

It’s funny, but there’s something to this blogging journey that reminds me of traveling. That may sound odd, but for me one of the best parts about traveling is that I open all of my senses. I notice everything around me. There is no auto-pilot, I have to think through the simplest exchanges. I notice all of the people, the space I take up and how I am perceived. I am more open to trying new things and meeting new people. Everything is a little bit more thrilling and a little bit more uncomfortable. I find so many parallels. And I feel at home and alive in that space.


It’s going to feel funny to hand over a completely blank book next trip. I’ve gotten quite attached to my stamps and I’m proud that my old passport is ending its career entirely filled (except for the back of one page).

OH, and speaking of stamps — DUDES in passport control…I know you don’t care, but puh-lease can you try to ink up your stamps before I come. Ghost stamps are sad. And pretty please, just for me, find a nice blank spot to mark. Enough with the lazy stamping on stamps on stamps on stamps. For everyone in smaller countries, maybe crossing borders ain’t no thang…but the U.S. is huuuuge. Man, we can drive for four days straight and still be in the same country, ordering the same fast food, drinking the same coffee, and speaking the same ol’ language. Border crossing is kinda thrilling for us and we pay good money to go get that stamp. I mean, we go for more than that, but you know… Oh my, okay I feel much lighter.

what a beautiful mess | passport stamps

I’m hoping my next passport strays away from Europe a little more often. It’s hard because we want to visit family in Croatia (and now Austria), plus travel is trickier with a toddler in tow. Buuuut 30 year old Henna is itching to see more of South America and Asia. To begin with…

So dear old passport, thanks for everything. I’ll keep telling our stories. But now, it’s time to make some new memories! CAN’T WAIT!

oh & Woot Woot, it’s the WEEKEND!

NOTE TO SELF: send in passport forms.

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28 Thoughts on “oh passport, my passport

  1. Rachel:

    i need to hear the long version of some of stories! don’t forget you love new beginnings but in this case i think you’d rather just add extra pages! i am glad you are still traveling through the unknown realm of blogging. i am always touched in some way by your posts.

    • oh yes…I have stories. :) I see a feeew more posts coming. and aww, thanks Rachel. that means a lot to me!

  2. How funny and how how true!! I always leave passport renewal to the last minute, and felt awful when I had to surrender my old one with all my Hong Kong, China, and other Asian and South American stamps. But time hastens on I suppose…

    So glad I stopped by to read, and you look fab in those pics!

    • looks like we have opposite passport stamps! :) can’t wait to catch up with some of yours, ha. Dying to see more of South America and Asia! :)

  3. You’ve really got me in the mood to travel now! All those amazing European experiences… But with a five week old, I think it might be a while before I start booking flights of any sort.

    GREAT pics, as always!

    Maria xx

    P.S. Also, I hate to be THAT person, but I think there’s a typo in the word ‘BEAUTIFUL’ in that last pic.

    • gah, thanks Maria!!! I need THAT person! off to go change ittt. haha, obviously it was a late night ;) I bet you’ll all be on the road before too long. At five weeks, you are on your very own adventure and in your own little world! :) xo

  4. You have such an adventurous spirit and a love of life that is infectious. In a good way, of course. I love the pictures, I love this post and most importantly of all, I love you.

    • Oooh, I hope Aki gets “infected” and wants to adventure more with me, haha. :)

  5. Tom Neill:

    Oh Henna, oh Henna. You outdid yourself. Incredibly good post. It brings back floods of memories for me. I feel like I was there through so many of the memories you listed. We had long, long conversations throughout those times. It seems like I heard the thrills, anxieties, joys, and frustrations almost in real time. You could have shut me out…so many children do. Thank you for letting me share the ride.

    • What a roller coaster for a daughter, huh! :) I’m lucky to have you.

  6. I agree with you. The passport carries so many beautiful personal memories of traveling, it’s lovely.

    • it’s so nice to have something physical to show for all of our experiences isn’t it?! too bad we don’t have books and stamps for other milestones in our lives, ha. :)

  7. I love this post. So true that you can find out so much about yourself when you’re away. I believe it’s because the only thing familiar in your environment is you. So we can really examine what’s on the inside.

    FYI, I also posted this one on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sheswrite

    • thanks for sharing the post! :) wow, I really appreciate that! Isn’t it funny, we are with our own selves 24 hours/day, 7 days/week and yet, sometimes it takes going far away and outside of our comfort zone to really examine ourselves and figure things out!

    • So glad to have found your blog. My husband and I were freueqnt travelers before our baby was born, and now we’re convinced that we’re not going to be able to go on vacation for at least another 5 years. We’re way too chicken to get on an airplane with a baby. It takes us awhile just to muster the courage to go to a relatively nice restaurant with the baby. I can’t imagine being in an airplane where we can’t just walk out if he’s having a loud day. Hoping the tips I learn on your website will help us return to our traveling lifestyle.

  8. Great to meet you from Mom Bloggers Club. Love the photography!! My blog is called Green Moms and kids. Hope you’ll stop by and check us out!


    • thanks so much. I’ll definitely check out your blog. xo

  9. I just got my passport renewed as well! I have a trip at the end of May and I’m still waiting for my passport to come in (I got it done early March)! I can understand the anxiety, lol but there’s nothing like being able to flip through your passport after its been stamped a few times. It brings back some great memories.

    • Hope your passport came! Mine JUST arrive (phew with just under two weeks to spare). I ended up putting a rush on it.

      So here’s to both of us making new memories! :)

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  11. liz:

    Henna, I’m absolutely loving your blog. I especially love this post, and can relate to so much of it. It’s truly amazing how many close calls a person can have while traveling (I’ve definitely had my share!) but how things usually seem to work out in the end. This post makes me miss our short time exploring Barcelona together. I’m kicking myself because I don’t seem to have any photos of us together (did you take any?) Can’t wait to hear more traveling stories, and hope to meet up with you again somewhere in this world!

    (and I agree, ghost stamps are the worst!) :)

    • I’m so sad that we don’t have photos together! I actually remembered one photo of us, one taken by a photographer when we were out once but I can’t seem to find it anywhere! :( I’m so glad you reminded me of our time in Barcelona! I think that is just one of those incredible life stories…the fact that we ran into each other after more than a decade and turns out we were both headed to Barcelona and to the same language school!! What are the odds!

  12. lovely post, funny how traveling can make you uncomfortable, thrilled, joyful and scared all at the same time! I lost my passport after my first trip outside the country to guatemala and was so sad, it’s only one stamp i’m missing on my new passport-but every stamp has a story! :)
    xo, d

    • Oh wow, Guatemala was my first trip outside of the country as well (besides Canada)!

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  14. I from Malaysia where i reside in Malacca a historical city. 400km to Singapore. I m chinese like travel + good foods, hope to hear from u bye

    • Hi Patrick, thanks for stopping by! I’d love to visit Malaysia and Singapore one day! And yes, eating good food while traveling is one of my favorite things! :)

  15. Love your passport photos and I totally agree about the stamps! I’m living in abroad in Belgium and we have been traveling a lot and we do not even getting our passport stamped traveling within Europe. Good luck traveling with your toddler…we’ve been traveling with ours for the past 2 years.

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