Tuesday, February 5, 2013

WT - Leaving no trace

There is a strange trend that I've started to notice about my travels and the acquiring of extra passport pages:

It's possible that I didn't actually need to get those extra pages, despite the extreme amount of traveling I have been doing and will continue to do.

You see, there are a few things that come into play that actually make it so no immigration and other border agency stamps my passport whenever I enter a new country:
  1. I am a citizen of that country. (Naturally this is the States...they just welcome me back and don't stamp).
  2. The country is part of the EU. This involves many of the countries I fly to on a regular basis and have been visiting for holidays - they're close by, flights are cheap, and though I've visited quite a few of them already, there are still many more I haven't and would want to. They don't stamp when you go to other EU countries - since you already were in one they assume their sister/brother country checked you thoroughly enough (with the exception of some, like the UK, etc, who have heightened security measures), and don't really care. Most of the time you decide yourself (without filling out a landing card) whether or not you have items you wish to declare at customs. No stamp.
  3. I have a visa to that country.
Now it is this last one that is really the reason why I have so few stamps in my passport for the past year. For a specific amount of time (let's just say several months), I've held visas for two European countries (as my visa for Finland is valid for a year, and I just received my visa for the UK, which began before I've relocated), and naturally I'm a citizen for the States.

This means whenever I enter one of those countries, I don't get stamped. They see I have a visa, take a look at it, maybe scan it to make sure it's real, and that's it. No stamps.

If the States and the UK didn't have such heightened security measures, that would have meant that there would have been no record of me crossing borders, except for the fact that I had purchased plane tickets.

To be honest this made me feel like a secret agent in some ways. A silly reason to feel that way, but I did feel it nonetheless.

Pretty sure that for these few months, that earns me another few points in the WT status.

Just sayin'.

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