Collecting Passport Stamps

Passports, notebook, binoculars and pencil on table

I miss the days of cardboard covered passports, pages wrinkled and fattened from being thumbed and stamped by various customs officials. Speedy scanning with microchips just doesn’t have the same romance. On the very rare occasion where I do find my passport being stamped I get a little thrill.

Of course it’s not the stamps, but the places themselves. The memories we collect, shared with others or thumbed through on a grey weekday back home. I swear Tom has polar bear blood in him. He is always suggesting we head North for our adventures: the Faroe Islands, Svalbard or the Norwegian Fjords. The destinations on my adventure list are a little warmer. I’m pretty sure they’d all still stamp my passport…

Cycling to India
Ever since reading Dervla Murphy years ago I’ve imagined stepping out my front door and pedalling until I reached India. I’d make up the route as I went, no time limit, simply seeing where the journey took me. I often mention cycling to India, a throwaway comment in the lull of a conversation, to cancel out the terrible predictability of the work/mortgage/train delay topics that crowd our lives. Its nothing if only mentioned; I really do have to do it. Some day.

Sailing round the Solomon Islands
Another destination inspired by a teenage read, this time from a woman who spent a year on a tropical island. It seemed hard, harrowing, barely survivable. But years later Lucy travelled back to the local community with her children and it sounded wonderful. Free, adventurous and filled with laughter. I’d have an old wooden boat, well-appointed and water-tight, to park my home on a sandy bank, meet the locals and splash through the clear shallow waters.

Hiking through Peru
Few things can compete with the view from the top of a mountain, especially if you’ve earned it through sweat and tears. I’d like to walk through the Cordillera Blanca, snaking between remote passes with map and compass in hand, nothing but me and my boots to thank for reaching the top. It’s perfect simplicity, a reminder of my tiny self and the enormity of this incredible planet we live on.

Clouds at sunset

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