Kathy and I recently made a trip to the U.S. Embassy here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There were two years left until my passport expired but I needed a new passport for another reason. Which brings me to number one on my list.
1. You need a new passport because you have used up all the pages available for visas and immigration stamps. Many countries will not let you in without at least two empty pages. From South Africa (September, 2008) to Chiang Mai, Thailand (April, 2016) mine was full!
2. You readily jump into forms of transportation you would have considered unsafe and are probably illegal in the U.S. No seat belt? No problem! Since traveling we’ve hitchhiked, jumped into big rig cabs and the back of pick ups. In Thailand when we are not walking we are in a tuk tuk or songthaew. I forget to look for a seat belt on our rare rides in actual cars.
3. You no longer freak out when faced with a non-western toliet. You are just grateful it is clean and you remembered to bring toliet paper.
4. You trust that you will never be truly lost…it’s just another adventure! Delighted by the colorful outfits and beautiful smiles of these Balinese locals we followed them to a completely different part of town.
5. You never pay the first price asked. I never bargained at home, now I always pay less than the opening price. We bargained (and bought) so much from these ladies on Ubud they became our friends.
6. You appreciate how much more of the world there is to see and how privileged you are to be able to see it!