Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Passport pirouette: Travel-mania begins with Japan

Like I promised, here's a new series for Not A Ballerina: the passport pirouettes. I'll be taking a look at my old, tattered passport and reminiscing about the stamps that have found their way in their over my journeys - and of course, talking about the journeys themselves too.

When I decided a few years ago to pack up my house and job and leave Australia for a while, I realised I'd lost my passport.

Some might see that as a bad omen, but I just saw it as evidence that my messy desk can, sometimes, cause problems. In fact, the passport showed up when I was at the final packing stages, carefully hidden in the zipped pocket of a handbag I rarely used, but not before I'd forked out the dollars for a new passport. But it was kind of nice. My new passport and my new start in life went hand in hand.

That's why this page of my passport is one of my favourites. There are all the stamps necessary for my first year of a working visa in Japan as a "Specialist in Humanities/International Services", which sounds so much cooler than "English teacher". There's also an Australian immigration stamp showing that I didn't even return home for a visit until more than two years after I'd left.

I can admit now that I was pretty terrified when these stamps found their way into my passport. I knew I wanted to have a change from life in Australia, but actually doing it was pretty daunting. With the benefit of hindsight (and I guess I had enough foresight to know this then too), it was the best thing I ever did.


  1. Wow. That's very cool. I started getting my school loan papers in the mail and felt quite bummed. Then, after considering it, moving to London was the best thing I've ever done.

  2. Denae, sounds like a great move! I'm so glad a college education doesn't cost the earth here in Oz (yet!), because student debts sound scary, and not very conducive to saving money to travel with (although moving to London does rather solve the problem!).

  3. Great little slice of history with the Perth stamp as well. They are not stamping Aussie passports anymore at Australian customs (not in Melbourne at least).

  4. James, I didn't realise that they're not stamping Aussie passports - actually it's been a while since I've flown out of Oz. The demise of passport stamping is a depressing thing, I reckon - like in Europe especially - sure, having no border control is great for saving time but having no passport stamps is pretty sad:-(


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