I can’t believe how quickly 10 years have passed. I recently dropped off my passport renewal application at LAX Post office located at 9029 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles California. I completed the application online, paid the fee by debit card ($110) for the passport book ($30) passport card, and took my photo there for an additional fee of ($15) (It is to be noted you can have your photo taken for about $9 at CVS or Walgreens or for free at your home). The whole process of renewing the application took approximately 15 minutes to complete.
My first international trip was during Summer 2007. I’ve always wanted to travel to Africa. While attending college at California State Long Beach, I would frequent the study abroad office and pick up brochures for South Africa. In 2006, I met a young lady on campus who told me that she had recently completed a study abroad trip to Ghana. I had never heard about Ghana but was interested in going. I was put in contact with the coordinator Ms. Hund from Long Beach City College.
To prepare for the trip I begin asking for donations. Due to the fact, that I was a college student and it was my first time studying abroad, people were willing to help me fund the trip. Two of my largest contributions came from my Aunt Freda and Youth Opportunity Movement in the form of $1000. I also received smaller donations from various people and an IPOD from my Uncle Odell. Don’t be afraid to ask for funding especially if it is your first time traveling or you will be completing community or activism work while abroad.
A year later, I left the USA and traveled with 12 beautiful women from various backgrounds. I am still in contact with some of the ladies and we often meet up up for lunch or special occasions.
The trip started off disastrous. Before even leaving the country, the airlines broke my luggage and gave me a cardboard box to put my items in, Lufthansa airline flight was delayed and we spent a night in Germany and after arriving in Ghana our luggage was lost for 2 days.
Thank God the remainder of the trip went well. For approximately, 6 weeks I traveled to 4 different cities within Ghana: Accra, Cape coast, Kumasi and the Volta Region. Each city represented something different. Cape coast is my favorite due to it being by the ocean and the slow pace of the small city. While there I took a geography class, provided school supplies and helped build a roof in a village, took a dance and drum class, stayed with a host family, went to the beach, visited slave castles, danced the night away, shopped for African fabric, visited W.E.B Dubois grave, etc. I fell in love with the culture, people, food, land, and the handsome men. If you are a plus sized woman expect to be overwhelmed by the attention from the Ghanian men. I thought to myself, “I have been living in the wrong country all my life”. I loved Ghana so much that I have been back 5x.
In 10 years, I have been able to collect passport stamps from all over the world. I have been to Ghana 5x, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Caribbean Islands (St. Marteen, St. Lucia, Virgin Islands, Bahamas), Mexico City, Ensenada, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico and various states in the USA. I’m looking forward to 10 more years of travel.
- Form DS-82 Complete online application and print or manually complete app
- Passport booklet
- One color photo
- Marriage certificate if you have had a name change.
- Pay Fee- $110 for passport booklet and $30 for a passport card (can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from: Canada. Mexico.
Applying for a new Passport
- Form DS-11 Complete online app and print or manually complete app
- Proof of US Citizenship (a previous US Passport or certified Birth Certificate
- One color photo-(2×2 inches in size)
- Fee- $110 for passport booklet and $30 for a passport card
Where did you collect your first passport stamp?? Tell me your fondest memory about your first passport stamp.