Always Bring Your Passport

Always Bring Your PassportReal ID

I do.  I always do.  I carry my third passport (I’ve renewed it twice) in my wallet everywhere I go.  Why?  Partly it’s because of the Real ID guidelines, which vary from state to state.  I have lived in Real ID compliant states and states that are the reason why the official, final, no-more-extensions deadline keeps getting extended.  Rather than figure out which kind of state I may be in now, I just use my passport.  Yes, they can be a little pricey to renew, but I can put my passport in the mail and a few weeks later I can a shiny new one for another decade.  No waiting around an office plastered with 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper outlining every rule from what type of proof of identity is required to what you can and cannot eat while waiting.

My passport is my preferred form of ID regardless.  My passport says, “This gal can be in Brazil or Thailand tomorrow.”  Of course I won’t be (virus or no virus), but it’s the idea that I can be, that I am ready for wherever life takes me, whatever adventure unfolds.  My passport may look blue and boring, but open it and discover a magic carpet waiting to carry me off to another yet-to-be-discovered wonderland of scenery.  If I am forced to choose between a world of excitement or a room full of computer-printed, desperate-for-control-over-the-waiting-room mandates, I’ll open my wallet and have my answer.

061117 414Peace Out

Even when you don’t plan to go to Canada – that is, when it’s open (see “They Closed Canada,” February 2020) – you might wander your way into an international garden by chance.  On a business trip to the northernmost north of North Dakota, I took a three-day, two-night trip to Lake Metigoshe State Park along the shared border.  And before you suspect me of hiking a bit farther than I ought, I instead opted to take a drive down the road to the Peace Garden Park.  After all, North Dakota is the Peace Garden State.  I’m not making this up.

Tucked between the Dunseith customs entry points lies the exquisite symbol of unity and flora known as the Peace Garden International Park.  As you drive around its luscious loop, you weave into Manitoba, back into North Dakota, across to Canada, back to the United States, wander through manicured grasses and swampy ponds, enjoying the greenery of two nations.  You are free to pass from one to another, safely nestled in the plants and flowers of the shared scenery.  Canada doesn’t mind you wandering through, even the U.S. lets you cruise through the campground, splash in the fountains, and stop and sniff every petal you like.  Until you leave the park and head back home.  Then you’d better have your passport in your wallet.

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