Thursday, May 5, 2011

52 Reasons to Have a Passport

It's a rare occasion where you pick up a book and say "Wow, this must have been written just for me!."   And self help books don't count, because of course everyone wants to eat healthy, exercise, make money and have fulfilling relationships.   While perusing (not idly...I was looking for books for my upcoming trip to Israel) I came across The Book!!!  Lonely Planet's Don't Let the World Pass You By: 52 Reasons to Have a Passport.   While sipping a mocha at Paradise Bakery, I read through half, finishing the rest earlier this week. 

Travel is one of my passions and I try to share it with others.   Some people are intrigued by the thought of exotic destinations but don't actually want to go themselves.   Some people want to visit the "safe" places, whether they are English speaking destinations (Australia and Great Britain) or the famous sites in Western Europe.   Some people want to see where their ancestors came from, climb mountains, or visit friends.  I know what I like to do, but I try to encourage anyone to leave the US, for any reason...other than running away from the law (although that makes a great story).  I'm in a little bit of shock right now because after my next trip this summer, I don't have another vacation in the works.   I have a feeling that will change as I will have enough Delta miles soon to justify a "free" trip.   Decisions.  Decisions. 

The forward is written by Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race (read about my Amazing Race Moment here).  The Amazing Race is about everything travel...beautiful places, crazy traffic, strange food, and the people.   He says, "I've found that having a passport ultimately isn't so much about the places that it allows you to go as the people who want to share their world with you."   I read somewhere in another book that there is a difference between being a tourist and a traveler, and part of that is whether you just see places or you immerse yourself in them.   It's the difference between taking a picture of a famous church in rural Peru or going in and attending mass.   It's the difference between chasing a guinea fowl in silence or yelling at it in Swahili (which you learned from a local). 

This book is a quick read and makes you want to pack your bags and go.   If you are looking for justification and "I just want to go" is not enough, the authors provide 52 reasons for you.  I've pared them down to the ten that resonate with me.  And my wanderlust.  And my newly renewed passport that needs more stamps so I have more stories.  Now I just want someone, in Where the hell is Matt? style, to fund my travels for me.

Traveler's Top 10
#1 It's who you are
#3 Exercise your rights
#4 Be an ambassador
#20 Meet the neighbors
#22 Feel the thrill of the unfamiliar
#24 Learn the lingo
#29 All the wonders of the world
#38 Taste is everything
#46 We're different, but the same
#48 Write your own life story

One of my reasons to have a passport?
To play games in foreign countries :)

What's your reason?

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