Friday, 16 September 2011
Old Passport, New Passport
Got a new passport today, which means dumping the old one. I thought that they took the old one away from you, but no, they let me keep it, but with a corner of the cover snipped off. It's wings have been clipped so it can't fly any more.
Couldn't help but take a look through the pages before I traded it in for a shiny blank one. These days most airports don't bother to stamp your passport unless you specifcally ask for it, which I don't. But some do. And as regular readers of this blog (and it stuns me into a stupor to believe that there are such people, but site statistics don't lie) will know I travel a lot. I'm not in the Richard Quest league any more, but still do my share of globe-destroying travel, so my passport was packed with stamps.
And with every little blurry stamp is a little blurry memory. Often not distinct, but a feeling, a little ache of muscle memory of a place.
Now, I've done enough grown-up martial arts to know that the trick with life, as it is with the drawing of a sword, is to truly be only in the moment. The past is gone, the future is yet to happen, so "be here now" as the kids used to say in the 90's. But as I look at those stamps, I get enveloped by a fog of associated airports, trips, mishaps, people and sandwiches..
The second image from the top is for Tokyo Narita airport. I got off the plane, excited and nervous, stood in line at the immigration check and noticed that someone had slapped a sticker onto the front of the desk. As I got closer I could make it out - "Andre The Giant has a posse", and a picture of the great man. What kind of crazy balls does it take to slap an Andre The Giant sticker on the front of the desk behind which sits the man who can stop you entering the country? Awesome. He stamped my passport, and I went through, picked up my bag, and got met by a cool Japanese lady called Erica who took me to meet Monkey. But that's another story. Ain't they all.
The new passport runs out in 2021, which feels as absurdly futuristic as 2011 did ten years ago when I got the old passport. I remember that day too - I was about to go on a little European tour with Steve Rawlings. That became no fun pretty quick, but at least it was paid badly.
So. Chapter closed. New one begun. Same book though.