We all know that I am a Travel Advocate. I believe that everyone should make traveling a part of their lifestyle. From small children, to young adults, to adults, to seniors - everyone.
I also believe that a traveling mentality begins at a young age. Which is why when I received an email from Tracey Friley, creator of The Passport Party Project, calling for travel bloggers to participate in National Passport Day and help her gift passports to teenage girls, I did not hesitate to volunteer. Even after I received the second email from Tracey, laying out all the details and telling us how complicated the process could be - I was still all in.
I mean how exciting? Getting your very first passport and realizing that the world is just a flight away?!OHHHHH - just thinking about it was giving me chills!
I set out on my task.I made a few phone calls and sent out some emails regarding the project and what I was looking for. I received a response from a friend of mine, who has a friend, that has 2 young girls. PERFECT. I got the mother's email address and sent her a message. She was very responsive, and so excited for her girls. ME
TOO! I sent her all of the details and we were all set. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Devan (right - 12) and Lauren (left - 13).
To add to my excitement, the girls had a friend who did not want to be left out of the fun. Introducing Courtney (13)!
Everything was all set and we were ready to to. We made plans to meet at the post office closest to where the girls live. Upon arrival, there were hugs and squeals of excitement - mostly from me - but the girls quickly joined in and were were the life of the party, well errrr, the post office. Other customers wanted to know what we were doing and why were we were so excited. "IT'S PASSPORT DAY, and these young ladies are getting their first passports" I would explain. Soon I was having conversations with other people about where they had been and where they wanted to go. One elderly couple were getting their first passports and the gentleman told me "We have raised our kids, they are out of the house, it's our time." I almost cried.
Before I knew it, all paperwork had been processed, oaths had been taken, fees had been paid and BAM, passports to be received in the mail within 4 weeks.
We didn't let the fun stop there. We headed to a local restaurant for some lunch and to continue the travel talk. The young ladies were still a little shy (I think my excitement was a little too much so early on a Saturday) so when I asked them where they were headed with their shiny new passports, I got a few responses: Cancun, Jamaica, China, London....all great destinations. I had my passport with me and showed them my stamps and chatted about some of my favorite destinations. I mentioned Paris, someone quickly chimed in "I want to go to Paris" she said with excitement building.
I gave the girls gift bags containing a luggage tag, some travel size containers, a journal and a pen. I asked them to use the journal to document their travel dreams by writing about where they wanted to go and to cut out pictures of far away places that must be seen. I asked them to take a few minutes while we were all together to write on the first page about what getting their passport meant to them.
Our lunch came, but we did not stop chatting. We chatted, and chatted, and the chatting didn't stop! The Mayan Ruins, Machu Piccu, Taj Mahal, Greece, Africa - yes, all of it, The Pyramids, Christ the Redeemer (a.k.a. that statue of Jesus), The Leaning Tower of Pisa. On and on we went, until Lauren finally summed it up. "I wanna go everywhere" she sighed and we all simply nodded our heads in agreement.
THANK YOU PASSPORT PARTY!