Passport not required

Not long after I moved from London to Norfolk, my passport expired. Years ago, I would have renewed it immediately, without giving that a second thought.

When I got my first passport, in the 1960s, it made me feel very grown up. UK passports used to be blue, with a hard cover. They felt like a very official small book, and the old-fashioned words inside imbued the small document with a sense of history. Even the cover was impressive, and though I was unhappy with the photo of myself, I didn’t mind. After all, who likes their passport photo?

(Not my actual passport, obviously)

Once I started to use it to travel abroad, I was excited to see the stamps placed inside it by foreign customs and immigration officers. Dates and places, foreign languages inside the oblongs or squares. They were often stamped carelessly, with no attempt to center the mark on the page, or to follow on from previous stamps by using the same page at the back. For me, that all added to the mystery of travelling abroad.

As I ventured further afield, I got new stamps and visas. These were often distinctive and quite lavish, as in the case of my trip to China. I was also disappointed to discover that some countries only stamped in the accompanying visa, (like the DDR) so I returned home with no visible evidence of my trip. When the first passport expired, I applied to have it returned to me with the new one. They would cut the corner off to invalidate it, but I still had the opportunity to look back on my old stamps with fond nostalgia, and to smile at a photo of me taken ten years earlier.

When our passports were changed to EU national documents, the colour changed to red, and they were more like a thin ‘paperback’. But I still got my stamps in them.

I last used a passport to travel to Prague, in 2011. Since then, I have not ventured outside of the UK. One reason was that we got Ollie in 2012, and didn’t want to leave him in kennels so that we could go abroad on holiday. There was also the expense. On a retirement income for me, and lower salary for Julie, it seemed unlikely that we would ever have the money to explore places we hadn’t already seen, short of an unexpected inheritance, or lottery win. Even if money became available for some reason, that still left the problem of what to do with our much-loved and loyal pet dog.

Almost seven years later, and I have settled into the idea that future trips abroad are unlikely. If they ever do happen, they will probably be no more than a weekend city break, so Ollie can be accommodated with friends or neighbours. My passport has still not been renewed, and sits in its ‘safe place’ in a drawer. I don’t even need it as an I.D. document any more, as my driving licence or bank card is acceptable almost anywhere.

Almost fifty years after I received my first passport with excitement and expectation, I am now wondering if I will ever need one again.

61 thoughts on “Passport not required

    1. Definitely don’t get a pet until you have exhausted your desire to travel, if you ever do exhaust that. πŸ™‚
      They are an emotional and practical tie, undoubtedly.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  1. Pete, I also wonder at times why there is suck sloppiness when stamping the passport, as another Customs Officer will need to find it to verify it is there…and I also enjoy getting the old ones back so I have a record of where i’ve “been stamped”…perhaps an unexpected trip is in your future, who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Those Ads are ‘compulsory’, John. That’s because I am on a ‘Free Plan’, and I cannot turn off the advertisements. (I get nothing from them) I don’t see them on my own blog, but I see them on many other Free blogs. I can get rid of them by upgrading to a Premium Plan, but until my allotted space runs out, I have decided not to spend the money.
          Best wishes, Pete.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I have little interest in all the hassle at airports these days, and can’t stand travelling on the sea to get to Europe But we have the channel tunnel, and using the train through that is very easy. So I just might renew, once Brexit has sorted itself out. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I notieced in my trip back to Michgan more dogs that I recall in the past in the airport and on planes in the cabin. In her trip back Nancy sat next to a dog. So, perhaps you should get a passport for Ollie. Depending upon what happens with Brexit he may want to leave too. πŸ™‚
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We can get ‘dog passports’ already, Theo. They give details of health history and vaccinations, and can be confirmed with the identity chip implanted in Ollie.
      But they are only allowed to travel in the cargo hold, and some countries still require periods of quarantine on arrival. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I suppose it is part of life’s journey and the changes that come to us in different phases of our life. We live in South Africa and I would never ever let our British passports expire. I get nervous about being isolated in Africa without our passports when we send them away for renewal.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I suppose if you ever do reapply you’ll be surprised to learn you’ve been designated an “undesirable foreign entity”. (Ollie’s been very cooperative, though I understand international travel may still be available to you if you are declared a certain someone’s “emotional support human”). Just a heads-up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My passport expired in Fall 2014, and I had five years to renew it without having to provide documentation all over again. I finally renewed it this past fall, so I only let four years slip by after the expiration date. I have no plans to travel anywhere outside the U.S. anytime soon. However, the last time I renewed my driver’s license (Dec. 2015, a month earlier than necessary), I was unaware until I was inside the DMV, after waiting in line forever, that I had to provide a birth certificate in order to acquire a Real ID driver’s license, which would allow me to board a plane or visit a federal facility starting in 2018. So I just got another standard driver’s license, good for eight years (Jan. 2024). I then had a choice to either reapply for a Real ID driver’s license at a later date, or else renew my passport. I chose to do the latter, but procrastinated a few years…. More recently, I learned that a passport may soon be required to board a plane even if one has a state issued Real ID. So I definitely made the right decision. It’s always possible I may want or need to get on a plane in the future! As for my passport photo, it’s the worst photo ever taken of me. But I don’t care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sounds as if your bureaucracy is even worse than ours, David. We don’t need them for internal flights, but I would need one for a channel ferry, tunnel train, or flying abroad. Maybe next year… πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The thing with the passport photo has gotten worse. I had to renew mine a couple f years back and it took three submissions before the photo was accepted. No wonder I looked p****d off. You can’t smile, of course, or look more than one degree to the side, and you mustn’t cut off any part of your head but you mustn’t have too much background showing….etc.etc.

    Get a passport though, Pete. As they say, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Always good to have one Pete, JIC. Mine hasn’t been used for a couple of years, though I am hoping to change that this year. Not so keen on the flying any more which kind of restricts me and I am a rotten sailor.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Happy New Year Pete,
    I think nobody likes the photos in their passport.
    I don`t have a passport, only the German Identity card. In most of the European countries I can travel with the Identity Card. Other continents are no longer on my wish list.

    Do I need a passport for traveling to England after Brexit? I hope so much, that Brexit will not happen.

    Today it`s a rainy day. But I am happy to see my sisters in the afternoon. Hope you have a nice weekend.

    Best wishes, Irene

    Liked by 2 people

    1. As I understand it, you will need a German passport to travel to Britain, after Brexit.
      If that ever happens of course. πŸ™‚
      Best wishes, and a very Happy New Year to you, Irene. πŸ™‚
      Pete.

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  9. Growing up in the US, there were so many places to visit, including Canada and Mexico, you didn’t need a passport. Times are different here now and even without going abroad it’s good to have one, even for air travel within the states. Mine’s up in a couple years and I’ll renew it for the next big trip to who knows where? ☺

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m completely with you on this one, Pete. Still, I’d always want to have an updated passport in my drawer. If, for any reason, you would have to go abroad on a short notice, you’d need it. My mother is in a caretakers home now and we never thought she would need a passport, but she did and it slowed down a process app. 6 weeks …

    Liked by 2 people

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