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Crossing Borders


After a quick stop at the embassy in Prague this morning, I am the proud holder of an expanded passport. At first, getting extra passport pages felt kind of like joining a special club, but as I thought more about it, this may just indicate that I've been traveling too much. Let's go to the statistics:

  • There are seventeen (17) original pages for stamps (visas) in my passport.
  • One year ago As of 20 May 2005, only three (3) of my passport pages had stamps on them. Pages left: 14.
  • Last fall Four months later (26 September 2005), six (6) more pages had been filled. Pages left: 8.
  • One month ago Last month (8 May 2006), a Hungarian border guard stamped page 17, which was the last remaining empty page. (Technically, page 24 was still blank but I've been told it doesn't count.)
  • Today Welcome twenty four (24) new pages, lettered A-X. One page is already filled with an official seal. Pages left: 23.

What does it all mean? In three years, between 2002 and 2005, I filled three pages of my passport. In the last year, I filled thirteen. That's a 430% increase. I think. Last year's stamps are from a lot of places I didn't think I would visit: Uzhgorod (Ukraine), Jakarta (Indonesia), Budapest (Hungary), Lanžhot (Czech Republic), Kúty (Slovakia). Of course, some of these are not places that I actually visited but just ones I passed through on my way to others in the respective country. In any case, it seems a busy year in retrospect. Wow!

In some way I was supposed to be furthering global connections, increasing cultural understanding, and writing and researching my dissertation. I'm sure some of all that happened along the way, but mostly it feels as though all I have to show for it are a bunch of full passport pages and this blog. So, in order to further the process - which one? I don't know - I've put a button for "Blog Day 2006" on the side bar. The goal is to encourage bloggers to reach out and experience (i.e., read and write about) blogs they may not have otherwise. On 31 August,

bloggers from all over the world will post a recommendation of 5 new Blogs, preferably blogs different from their own culture, point of view, and attitude.

Enjoy.

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