A most cherished object

This post was written for the Cherished Blogfest 2015, which is taking place July 24, 25, and 26. Each participant is to write about one of their most cherished objects. After considering writing about my cherished husband, health, and friends, I decided they weren’t really “objects.” What I chose instead is a both an object and an entree to adventures.


I have in my possession, a magical and powerful document. Held within its dark blue covers is my key to foreign lands and infinite experiences. It gives me the ability to not only travel freely around the world, but to return to the United States with few questions or concerns.

Written inside the front cover are the powerful words that confer this special status to me and that asks other nations to offer me reasonable freedom of movement and protection:

The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.


Although certainly not unique – after all, there are close to 150 million U.S. passports in circulation – my passport allows me to visit 174 counties, many of them without the additional requirement of a visa. The ease with which my passport allows me to travel from one country to the next is almost unparalleled. In fact, United States citizens’ travel freedom is ranked first, along with Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Finland.

My passport has taken me throughout Europe and it has accompanied me across our northern and southern borders into Canada and Mexico. Most recently, it traveled with me to Cuba. I’ve only had to present it when I’ve entered and departed each country, but having it in my possession along the way has given me a greater sense of comfort and safety.

The United States is not perfect and I know that we could do many (many) things better, but I also feel very lucky to be a citizen. The happenstance of my birth has offered me privileges that many people born elsewhere don’t have. My U.S. passport represents the strength of my nation and the relationships it has built over the decades with most other governments.

Despite all of its power, my cherished document is lacking something very important which I hope to resolve over the next several years: there far too few entry stamps. My husband and I are looking forward to years of adventures in our retirement and I hope that, over time, those pages will be filled with dozens of stamps as we travel the world.


To read more posts by Cherished Blogfest participants, please link to this page to visit other most cherished blogs.

Author: Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

My blog is about travel, relationships, photography, and whatever else pops into my head (even, sometimes, issues surrounding retirement and aging).

58 thoughts on “A most cherished object”

  1. Excellent!! This was one if my choices, along with a library card 😀 posts for other days.

    I like the way you emphasized the distinctions on our US passports. I have to say it makes me very nervous when a tour guide or hotel clerk tells us they need to hold onto them for any duration. I want mine tucked into it’s security pouch next to my heaving bosom at all times!!

    Much to our dismay, the Euro countries no longer stamp passports because their borders are porous. Not even Turkey blinked an eye. Now that gives me an art idea – I just might use my expired passport for a collage journal and design my own stamps for countries I visited with it!!

    Do you have a spevific destination picked for your next journey?

    1. Oh, I didn’t know that about the entry stampless “new” Europe. That’s a bummer! I love your idea of using expired passports as part of art projects… post it if you do! I think our next trip will be to the Fontainebleau region of France where my sister-in-law lives with her family. We can use her house as a base camp for more adventures.

      1. I’m green with envy 😀. Having seen only tiny portions of France (it’s huge!! LOL) and its kindly villagers and Parisiens, i completely fell en amour. I will look up Fontainebleu on the map 😀

  2. I hope you have a chance to use it more. Mine has been to Canada and London, but that’s okay with me. There are still lots of places in the US I’d still like to see.

  3. Yes, our passports are precious things. I do more U.S. travel these days and yet the last time my passport needed to be renewed I didn’t hesitate. Love this post!

    1. Mine will be up for a renewal in 2016 so I should probably start the process early next year. I know it can take awhile and I’d hate to have to turn down an all expenses paid trip to Bali if someone offered.

  4. That is an important object. My sister and I decided she wanted to travel and needed someone to travel with her, my wife and I agreed but unfortunately she passed away before we could. So now I spend my retirement time writing books and doing volunteer work. Travel while you can.

    1. My husband and I have known a few people who have passed away, lost someone close, or have had health problems that have prevented them from doing what they love. I’m sorry that you didn’t get to travel but it sounds like you have a full and satisfying retirement. Thanks for visiting!

  5. A brilliant post!! You are so right … our passports are priceless!

    I have had a valid passport since I was 17 years old and kept each one since then. Each tells a story of its own … and each year I continue to build on that story. I hope I can do that for a long time!

    1. We hope to have the energy and good health to be able to travel well into our retirement. My parents were in their late 80s when they had to stop and my husband’s mom is still going like the Energizer bunny, so, hopefully we come from good stock. I hope you can travel for many, many years to come also!

  6. I have always suffered from acute wanderlust, though it’s been curbed somewhat while raising a family and all that. Now that the end (retirement, that is) is in sight, I plan to dust off my traveling shoes once again. My passport is not only cherished, it’s vital. Good post…

    1. It is amazing how powerful that little blue book is! I hope you enjoy your travels as much as we have… well, of course you will! Btw, I have friends who drove their VW camper down to the tip of South America and then had it shipped over to Africa so they could continue their journey there.

  7. Ha, yes, great choice for the challenge. Holding a passport is a great privilege. I have been stopped and asked to present mine, by traffic police in France. I didn’t understand a word they said but fortunately my son speaks French. They looked the car over, looked at the passports, looked at us, gave the passbooks back and waved us on. My son thought all they actually wanted was an excuse to check out the Smart Car we’d rented – it did rather resemble a small, Jetson style spaceship than a car.

  8. Thank you for participating. Traveling is so much fun, but I yet to have step outside my country. I hate all that airport security and all those time consuming activities. So, I travel within the country, where I can hop into a bus or a train and just travel. Great post. Take Care.

    1. I agree about the hassles of travel, especially post 9/11. My husband and I often opt for a road trip rather than taking a plane… and we end up having a terrific time seeing parts of the country much better than we would have by air.

  9. What a great post, it’s so easy to forget how powerful a passport it. We take it for granted, it’s annoying to have to renew it (lol) and then I think of the places I would have missed out on seeing if I didn’t have it…

  10. Great choice of subject! Although I’m Canadian, as a fellow travel buff, I can totally relate and have had a passport since the age of 4. It would never occur to me to let it expire. Enjoy your travels!

    1. Thank you! I didn’t get my first passport until I was in my twenties but I had one ever since. Although I’ve been to parts of Canada, I’d love to explore it further… you live in a beautiful country!

  11. What an interesting post…I went immediately to have a look at my daughter’s one (I’m European but she was born on the West Coast, so she got American citizenship too). Right now she can’t appreciate those things you’re talking about – she’s too young. One day, she will… 😀

  12. I love traveling, too, and this post really spoke to me– treasure my passport!
    Thank you for supporting the Cherished Blogfest– hope to read more of your posts now that I’m following you.

  13. I pulled the plug on Sept 3, last year and headed right off to Germany for the wedding of an exchange student who became “our second daughter”. She was married in a castle near Heidelberg. 🙂

  14. Hi, I retired in 2010 and relocated to Scottsdale AZ from the Bay Area. In Jan of 2015 I launched my website on retirement. It is one of my retirement pursuits. One of the unanticipated developments is that I have gotten into podcasting. It is a lot of fun and I like that it affords my guests the opportunity to have a literal voice. I know this isn’t the most graceful or personal way to ask, but would you be interested in being a guest? If so please shoot me an email. You’ll find my contact info plus previous podcasts on http://www.retirementjourneys.com. Good luck and all the best. Ted Carr

  15. What a great choice of cherished object! It is true- it leads us on so many wonderful adventures and opens many doors for us!

  16. I love that you chose your passport! I always feel so privileged to hold my US passport, knowing that it opens doors abroad but also means safe passage home>

    1. Thank you! Yikes, your comment made me realize that it’s been more than a month since my last post. I wish I could say that I’ve been on some great adventure, but that would be a lie. We do have some travel plans for later this year and in 2016, though.

  17. Great choice. Very much enjoyed your take on just how special a U.S. Passport really is. Even before retirement and even more since retiring, 2years ago, my husband and I are enjoying putting ours to good use. Have been to 35 countries so far and looking forward to adding several more next month when we embark on a 28 day Mediterranean/transatlantic cruise. Our intent is to enjoy traveling as much as we can while we are able and to work at staying healthy so that time lady’s for quite a while. Besides all the great and interesting sites we are enjoying meeting nice people along the way and making new friends. Perhaps our paths will cross on some future journey.

    BTW I think our passports have been stamped in European countries whenever we fly in, including Turkey, but you just miss out when you drive between countries in Europe.

    1. Oops meant that time ‘lasts’ not lady’s! Don’t you just hate it when your i-pad takes over for your. Usuaually I take time to proof read better before I post. 😁

    2. Wow, 35 countries! You really have been putting your passport to work. And, you are right, travel as much as you can now while you are healthy. I imagine that you’ve been to Cuba already. My husband and I managed to get there before the embargo was lifted – just in time before being overrun by Americans! I couldn’t determine if you have a blog too – if so, let me know; I’d love to follow you and your adventures.

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