Passport wake

Before moving to Zurich I decided it best to apply for a new passport - you see, I acquired my previous one a bit after turning 18, so it was possibly going to expire while I was overseas and it seemed easiest to update it while in Australia; which indeed it was, but that also meant invalidating my previous one, so I thought it an appropriate time to go through it and reminisce on the last 7ish years of travel:
Image from here
The most prolific stamp is easily the one you get for entering the US at LAX, that blue circle with the date in the middle. I ended up with 9 of those, a result of LAX being the main entry point of call for both programming contest trips, then work. Also probably from USA is one rogue date stamp (same red font as the others) - which I think they added next to a previous still-valid trip - and one really small green immigration form stub from the days before ESTA. I probably didn't need it, but it was stapled in, which gave it some permanence... Thankfully you don't get one for leaving the US, otherwise it'd be much more packed. Unfortunately not in this passport, but from memory my previous one would have had an entry sticker around the date of the 'Northest blackout of 2003' - by far my quickest trip through customs in the US, due to most east-bound domestic flights (but not mine!) being cancelled, which we only found out a few days later. The other US stamp worth pointing out is the one two pages before 'page 1'. I'm not entirely sure, but I believe these pages are supposed to be empty (and have received no stamps since), yet one official in 2006 seemed to think it'd be a good idea for them to use it right at the start...
image from wikimedia commons
One of the 9 above came from my round-the-world trip (mentioned in this post), the trip which also added two from Spain (entering into Madrid, and leaving from Barcelona), both being simple black/red rectangles with very clear IKEA-ish language-free symbols (EU, enter v. exit). I still remember the entrance one as being one of the oddest customs trips, where it seemed everyone in the entrance hall was late for a transfer so it seemed they whipped us through, almost no questions asked, stamping hurriedly. That trip was also the cause of my one stamp in the passport for Heathrow, having visited the airport a few times but not actually stayed until that trip. I was surprised at how few Europe stamps I had - I guess I got unlucky in that Athens was just before this passport, and Zurich just after, but I'm sure I'll rectify that now that I'm living here :)

The one other major source of stamps was my Antarctica trip mentioned here, starting with entry & exit stamps from Argentina, plus the full-page visitation visa sticker, which to my recollection was the only visa required for the entire passport (hurrah for programs of visa waivers for temporary visits!). On that trip I also  gained the two cutest stamps - those from visiting the Ukraine base in Antarctica; both big circles, one with a whale and the other having three penguins.
Image from here
Rounding out the work trips (and one ACM) are two stamps for Korea - entrance and exit, the former where they hand-corrected the expiry date to the same date they just crossed out - and four from Japan. These comprised of two pairs of entry/exit stamps, the entrance ones being particularly notable for their big QR codes on each which appear to scan as some binary data, hopefully the information on the sticker (...hopefully?).

Finally, last but not least are the three from South Africa - one entry, one visa expiry date (both in small black circles) and one exit (same, but square for some reason). It was during a world cup, so thankfully the process there was extraordinarily simple to close out the 7th continent of stamps (well...technically I didn't have an Australia stamp, and never visited NZ, alas).

So that concludes this summary, around 27 items to trigger memories with. I certainly feel very lucky to have taken the journeys I have - I doubt that I would have thought, back in 2005, that it'd look like that when finally disposed of (or the circumstances at the time), which makes me really keen to do this again in 10 years once the current one runs out, hopefully filled with stamps from all over Europe (if they still stamp when you live here?), I'm sure some from the US, many from Australia, and who knows, maybe even some more from Antarctica or another residence visa? ...
Taken by me, from memory morning over Heathrow
(P.S - apologies for the random photos, I'm not sure what the deal is with putting photos of an invalid passport online so I avoided that).


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