I renewed my passport today. It expired a few months ago and that shocked me. I haven't had an expired passport in decades! The last time I left the country was 5 years ago and that is far too long. Since then, with the exception of a couple weekend trips, I have not been on a vacation since that trip to England and Wales. I've traveled a lot for work or family things in the last 5 years, but not just for the sake of an adventure and to live a little. I need to live a little.
In our family, a trip to Europe is a reward for graduating (or enduring) and a light at the end of a tunnel. For all of Karen's daughter's life, we have been promising her a girl's trip to Europe when she graduates from high school, just like our Nana did with us. This is the year for that trip!
I long to be on a train, sitting with my feet on my luggage looking out the window at beautiful scenery, a loaf of bread and a tub of Nutella on my lap, listening to conversations in languages I do not know behind me. I hope that Europe and England are still Europe and England and not Europe and England with a Starbucks on every corner. I'm not sure how I will pay for this few weeks of living a little, but I plan on spending the next 6 months being very selfish with my funds. I will not work for free, I won't buy anyone any gifts or cards at birthdays (e-cards are better for the environment), and before I buy anything I will ask myself if it is really necessary or would I rather have a train ticket (or gelato) in Italy. My main goal is to stay healthy*, save money, and get to Europe. It's just like 1987!
I got to the passport office early and there were a few people in line in front of me. Only one person was allowed in the office at a time. Every person who walked out looked very happy! Hmmm...I don't remember that happening that last time I got my passport. As I waited, I looked through my old passport, full of stamps and memories, and the the worst photo of me EVER. My hair was in a pony tail with pieces sticking out everywhere and I had no lipstick on. I remember it was really hot the day I got my passport and I was all sweaty. And, it was like the camera was below my chin and 2 inches from my face. I looked like a "before" ad for ProActive.
It was finally my turn to go in the office. The passport lady was very abrupt in the way she spoke and she ordered me to stand against the wall so she could take my photo. Even though it was cold, I started sweating again because I was having flashbacks to the last photo. She positioned me next to a tall ruler (how comforting) and then suddenly she switched from her passport lady mode into fashion photographer mode. I wished I was not the only one in the room because I wanted to give someone the what is going on? look. She hopped on a chair, contorted in a weird angle, told me to smile big, and started snapping! She proudly showed me her handy work. Look at this great photo! You look wonderful. Everyone comes to me for their photo and leaves happy! You can see it again in six weeks when your passport is delivered.
She cut the photo out, stapled it to the form, and popped it in the priority mail slot.
She was right, I was happy.
I can tell already this will be a great adventure.
*We all need to stay healthy.
Visit Linda Woods Artworks for prints on canvas, paper, or wood for all size spaces and budgets.