Today is the 20th anniversary of the day I got my very first passport stamp.
Yes, I’m feeling kind of old. But more than that, I feel exceedingly grateful.
When I embarked on that very first trip to London so long ago, I thought I was getting my once in a lifetime opportunity to fly across the sea and live in another land. Even then I knew I was lucky, but I never imagined that 2 decades, 112 countries and uncountable transoceanic crossings later, I’d still be living that once in a lifetime dream.
Sure, some things are different then they were in 1993: I’m a lot older. I’m a lot smarter. I drink a lot more coffee and dress better. My bangs aren’t sprayed up with hairspray in my passport picture. I’ve learned how to drive stick shift. I no longer carry rolls of film or travelers checks. I travel with an iPhone, wifi, Google Maps, a handful of credit cards and a fancy carry-on instead of ragged backpack covered in patches.
I’ve grown up on the road, but thankfully I haven’t grown old and too tired just yet.
Many things haven’t changed: I still love every new place I go, and I still want to go everywhere. I still smile inside when I step out of the airport or train station for the first time into a new land. I still get lost. I still get stuck in the middle of crazy stories no matter where I go, and I still always remember to try to laugh more than cry when these misadventures do occur.
Yes, after twenty years on the road my passports are worn, fat and frayed around the edges. And sometimes I feel the same way too.
But mostly I feel excited for what the next 20 years has in store.
How about you? Where are you going between now and 2033?
**Photo: my first day in London with Lisa on 26 January 1993 in front of Big Ben. (our photographer forgot to actually get Big Ben in the photo and this was pre-digital, so we had no idea until we got the film processed months later).**