September 27, 2011
Cape Town, South Africa
If you’ve followed this letter for any length of time, you know that I tend to roam around the world with great frequency; we’ll typically have these conversations across 40 to 60 countries in 6 continents over a year’s time.
Lots of international travel means lots of silly stamps, seals, and stickers to fill up the visa pages in my passports. Even though I have multiple passports, they tend to fill up within 18-months or so given my travel schedule.
My current US passport, for example, was issued last February while I was in Thailand. By late summer, there was barely a single square inch of space remaining, so today I had the unfortunate displeasure of heading down to the US consulate in Cape Town to have them insert more pages.
Each time I’m forced to demean myself in this way– sitting around those sterile government waiting rooms and filling out useless paperwork only to justify the salary of some bureaucrat– I have plenty of time to reflect on the nature of this system.