An Ode to my Old Passport

I still remember the day I picked you up at the government office in Calgary all those years ago. You were shiny, wide-eyed to the world, and ready for adventure. I remember first holding you in my hands. I felt a great responsibility; and as I looked around the room filled with people, many of them immigrants like my ancestors, I felt great pride in carrying your Canadian crest.

Now, two and a half years later, your time has come, and it has come far too soon. However, one’s age has nothing to do with how long one has been alive, but how long one have felt alive, and I’m sure that you can say you’ve felt alive for about 10 passports worth of time, maybe more.

Canadian Passport

Old vs. New

We have been through our share together, haven’t we? I still remember the time I took you abroad for your first time. We were late for a connecting flight to Bolivia and, carelessly, I left you behind at security in Houston. As I realized my pocket felt too light, I raced back to you as soon as I could. Gracefully you weren’t mad at me. Instead you had made friends with the chubby lady at security and all the other foreign strangers in the lost and found bucket. I’d be lying if I told you I began to question whether I was mature enough to handle such a responsibility at the time. There were many other instances since as well. You have been run over by a bus in Brazil, dipped in coffee in Colombia, and dropped in snow in Antarctica.

Antarctica Passport Stamp

My Favourite Stamp

But regardless of all the trials set before us, we always managed to pull each other through haven’t we? Since that day in Houston we have been to 3 continents together, your 48 pages have filled with 114 stamps, 3 visas and more than a few stains. When I pointed out to you that the Canadian crest on your cover had faded off in exchange for wrinkles and worn out skin, you handled it with grace.

“It just means I’m more than just Canadian” you told me proudly, “it means that I am a global citizen with a Canadian heart and soul.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.


My Crisp New Passport

Though your pride is intoxicating, I couldn’t help but feel as if that mean man at the passport office was cutting a piece of my heart as he was snipping off your corners with those razor sharp scissors to mark your expiry.

At the end of the day, my new passport may be shiny. It may still have its crest attached, and its pages don’t have stains on them, but it has yet to take part in the great adventures we have shared. No one can ever take away our experiences together. You have been my companion on many voyages, and although you, my dear friend BA342546, will no longer be felt weighing down my pocket, you will always be felt in my heart of hearts.

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Oh, so cute. I guess no other ‘companion’ was with you for as long as your dear passport. RIP.

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  2. I didn’t use my first passport until eight years after I first got it, but the excitement of that first stamp was huge. I got married a year ago, and my new passport with my new name already has stamps from two continents, and three countries with many more in the works. I love my passport! It feels like a ticket to the best ride ever.

    Nice post, and I love the photos.

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  3. RIP indeed but perfect timing for a new year, new passport and new adventures! Looking forward to 2012 w/you

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  4. I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes I look at my old passport and it brings so many great memories. But then I see all the space on my current one for new visas and stamps and I feel better.

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  5. What a great post!

    It made me sad though, my passport suffered water damage from waiting at the St. John’s, Newfoundland airport in the rain on our Cross Canada trip and when I got it replaced they wouldn’t let me keep the old one.
    I wish I could have held onto it for all my Europe stamps and my working holiday visas for the UK and New Zealand. So many memories! A passport really becomes a travel scrapbook of everywhere you have been.

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