I've never had a passport. That might sound strange to some but actually a lot of people don't have one. I've not had the need for one because the last time I left my home country - Britain- was in 1999 when I went to New Zealand. I travelled on my mum's passport and my two brothers went under my dad's because back then that's how children could travel. Now though, they have to have their own passports but since we didn't go anyway else and just had holidays in the UK, I didn't have the need for one.
The first time I looked at getting a passport was in uni because it was a good form of ID in bars and clubs, but it was expensive and a learner driving licence was cheaper plus getting that also meant I could learn to drive! A few years later, my best friend suggested a trip to Ireland and said I'd need a passport. I looked at getting one again but even discounting all the costs of getting one, I was a poor student and couldn't really offered to be travelling. Plus, I had also been diagnosed with my long term health conditions and I just had too much going on.
From then to now, I've been battling illness, finding a job and figuring out what I wanted to do. The wanderlust wasn't in me. Friends and family went travelling the world but that didn't inspire me. I love England, I like the weather and enjoy the rich history and different cultures here. However, I do have dreams of going to America, Canada, Japan and New Zealand again.
So, why now have I decided to get a passport? It's not due to Brexit and other political unrest and changes, like I've read other people are now scrambling to get one. It's because out of the blue my boyfriend decided to invite me to Sweden where his dad has a second house. My boyfriend is aware that I've never had a passport because last year he invited me to Brussels and I said no due to the no passport, ill health and still not having the urge to travel. When he asked me this time, I said no again but when I spoke to my mum after, she persuaded me that I should give it a go. My boyfriend and his dad are going to pay for everything, so money isn't the real problem.
The problem is my main long term health problem. It's better controlled now but unpredictable and highly embarrassing. At it's worse, I can't be more then a minute or two away from a loo and it's like having a stomach bug but ten times worse. Attached to it is all the psychological problems, stress and anxiety that make me worse. I've had my condition for about 13 years now and it'll never be cured, (unless have insides removed and that's only a very final option when everything else has failed and I give up the fight.) Even just small afternoon/day trips out can be tough! One day, I will write a blog post about this.
I know I shouldn't let that stop me from doing what I want and I do try hard but sometimes its all just too much. However, I've decided that I want to overcome this now. If I want to see those other countries I need to make some kind of start. So yeah, I've decided to apply for a passport and give it ago. Though one big down side is that the holiday is booked for 7 weeks from yesterday and it takes 6 weeks for a passport to be delivered and there's no getting around that due to the fact I've never had one before.
So, I spent Wednesday researching how to apply, what I needed and what all my options where. I decided that due to the fact I'm doing it on my own as my parents are still in France this week, I would do 'check and send' with the post office. They make sure you've filled the form in have all the right documents then send it off for you. If changes are needed they tell you and you can come back as many times as needed. That seemed to suit me better then just doing it all online because you still have to print stuff and post everything special delivery. They do change more, but that includes the postage and checking meaning it's highly likely to be put straight through.
I went to the post office, got the form I needed and all the instructions about what to do. Which turned out to be real simple. I just needed my birth certificate, both my parents' birth certificates, their passport information for the form and two correct photos. I also needed someone to countersign the form and a photo which my supervisor has agreed to do today. Luckily for me, I have all that and with me and my parents being British and them having passports, it means I don't need other information.
However, it turned out that my birth certificate has gone missing! I've now spent about 8 hours searching my house for it and it's no where. So I've fast track ordered one and it should be here Monday. Then all being well I can send off my application.
My next hope is that they don't call me for interview! It's not compulsory but highly likely I might have to go due to never having a passport before. If they do send me a letter, I'm going to go for the next available appointment and I'll be able to take my mum as she'll be back home by then. I'm nervous about getting the questions wrong, especially if they ask me for my parents' birthdays and marriage date because I'm no good with remembering numbers.
I read that it's not like a test and many people get things wrong but they still get through. When I book my appointment I shall explain all my needs and see if my mum can come in with me. Hopefully, that'll go fine then in a few days after I should get my passport. Most of the chat room / message boards etc I've looked at to help better under what people have had to do and the timelines say that all together it takes 4-5 weeks. Though one person had said it took 4 months for them. But I'm hoping there's no issues and it'll be plain sailing.
Then I better get everything else sorted, pack and prepare myself! It's going to be so weird and my
anxiety is going to go through the roof. I have no fear of planes and I do like travelling and seeing new things, but like I said my health is a stopping factor. Perhaps, though this what I need to do to prove to myself that I can't allow my health problems to hold me back. I'm actually excited too, this is going to be a great experience and it'll open the door to so much more.
(All images from: https://pixabay.com and https://www.pexels.com)
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