P is for Passport, And My First Trip Out of the Country

I love the concept of passports.

A clear proof of citizenship, a gateway to the world, a reminder of all the places you’ve been and have yet to go to, and a repository of amazing memories abroad and less pleasant ones of going through customs — that little passport is essential to a traveler.

I got my first passport at the age of 15, a few months before I took my first trip out of the country to Ecuador. It was a very exciting time for me, as not only would it be my first time out of the country, it would be my first time traveling alone, and I was thrilled with the idea of so much independence. 

My 15-year-old self leaning out of one of the towers of the Basilica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador, with the Panecillo in the background.
My 15-year-old self leaning out of one of the towers of the Basilica Nacional in Quito, Ecuador, with the Panecillo in the background.

Even though I think a lot of people thought my parents were crazy at the time, I am so glad they let me travel internationally and do customs by myself, and then spend a summer away from them in a foreign country, speaking a language I only knew in the classroom before that trip. (Of course, I stayed with family friends the whole time I was there; I wasn’t completely on my own.)

That summer proved to be the spark of all my travel love, as I discovered that even my young self could navigate a new place, and not just do it, but enjoy it. (And that was in a time long before I had a smartphone!) With the freedom to explore at will (and no parents around to have to ask about doing so) and a desire to learn the language and blend with the locals, I settled into my summer in Quito with gusto. Without that first somewhat intimidating but ultimately satisfying experience out of the country, I don’t know what my future with travel would have looked like, but that first experience gave me a confidence and appreciation for travel I might not have known otherwise. And I’ve been looking for ways to keep my passport in regular use ever since!

Where was your first trip? Does your passport make you think happy thoughts?

THIS POST IS PART OF THE A-Z BLOG CHALLENGE, A MONTH OF ALPHABETICAL BLOGGING. LEARN MORE ABOUT THE A-Z CHALLENGE, OR CHECK OUT ALL MY A-Z POSTS.

8 thoughts on “P is for Passport, And My First Trip Out of the Country

  1. My first trip out of the country was for a semester studying abroad in Scotland. I didn’t have a language barrier to worry about, but I still managed to have a lot of adventures while I was there. It makes me sad that I don’t have that original passport with my stamps in it anymore, but knowing I still have one for when I can travel again does make me smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That sounds amazing. I’d love to see Scotland, and for a whole semester, too — so lovely! And I hate it when you have to renew your passport. I’ve had 3 now, and I wish you could just transfer pages! 🙂

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  2. Loved reading about your first time abroad!
    I think I have had a passport since before I even knew what a passport was. My dad used to take us for vacations each year to some place new and I’ve been travelling since the age of 7 months 🙂
    Travel opens up your mind so much, I believe … it helps create an undefined imagination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! It was an amazing trip. I really didn’t start flying much until my teenage years, although we traveled a lot by car before then. I wouldn’t have minded a new place every year! Travel is wonderful!

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  3. My first trip out of the country was to Canada in 1966. Our family drove from East Tennessee across to San Diego and then up the Pacific Coast Highway to the Al-Can Highway to Fairbanks, Alaska. No passport required for that trip. It was a blast! We camped along the road and foraged wild blueberries for our pancakes. Found a moose antler. Panned for gold. Truly awesome set of memories. Thanks for sharing and bringing back some great memories. Hope you have many more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know how I missed this comment! What a wonderful set of memories! Picking your own blueberries for pancakes and seeing what I’m sure is some beautiful road from California to Alaska must have been amazing. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

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