Stamp This! Travel bloggers’ passport stamp stories

27th January 2015

passportstamps

I asked travel bloggers to share the story behind their favourite passport stamp or visa and this is what they wrote …

A Globe Well Travelled Passport StampA Globe Well Travelled | Ashlea
Aside from the fact that when I open my passport I see my face from 9 years ago staring back at me, with it’s slightly chubbier cheeks, dyed red hair (what was I thinking!?) and impartial expression, I do get a kick out of flicking through the pages.

I’ve had it since 2006 and it’s been with me for every one of the 30 countries I’ve visited. Next year when I’m made to renew it, I may get a little sentimental and attempt to convert the former document into some sort of crazy piece of artwork so that I’m constantly reminded of what those heavily stamped pages look like.

Those are my favourite pages. The ones with multiple stamps, each one fighting to take up the largest amount of free space. This page in particular stands out as the two separate stamps I received for entry into USA just happened to be right next to one another. It’s as if the customs officials always turn to the exact same spot – no matter how many years apart you enter the country, and lazily place their stamp wherever it will fit rather than turning to a fresh page. It’s a shame that the stamp from the third time I entered USA was 3 pages further along. Wouldn’t that have been a nice coincidence?

Endlessly Exploring Passport Stamp
Endlessly Exploring | Kelly
This passport stamp marks the day that I finished the Inca Trail and arrived at the spectacular Machu Picchu in Peru. Visiting this remarkable site had been on the top of my bucket list for a long time, and I was so pleased with myself that I was able to complete the 42km hike without too much difficulty. That final morning, we had woken up at 3am to make the final leg. When we arrived at the Sun Gate and caught our first glimpse of Machu Picchu, we were overjoyed with our accomplishment. It was an incredible moment and rewarding experience for everyone in our hiking group. Those four days were definitely the highlight of my South America adventure in 2014, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

flyingthenest passport stampFlying The Nest | Stephen & Jess
Our favourite stamp would have to be from when we touched down in the Maldives and the immigration officer stamped “15 FEB 2014” onto the pages of our passport. We will admit that this once in a lifetime trip to this breathtaking location was way out of our budget (which we knew at the time) but we wanted to celebrate and splurge the end of 5 years of university studies. For us this stamp symbolised hours of working full time serving coffees whilst going home to finish writing assignments. The last 5 years had paid off and we were ready to start the next chapter in our life. We live by the quote “collect moments, not things” but our passport is our little exception as the stamps symbolise memories we are about to create.

girl vs globe passport stampGirl vs Globe | Sabina
Every single stamp in my passport means a lot more to me than just a puddle of ink on sturdy printed paper. Each and every one of them reminds me of how privileged I am to be travelling the world – as an EU citizen, it is much easier for me to gain entry into most places in the world.

But my Chinese visa was definitely hard won. I never even dreamed of visiting such a far flung destination before stumbling upon an email encouraging university students in the UK to apply for a cultural exchange programme in China. As I read on, I realised that if accepted the only thing I would need to fund was my airfare. Hmm, OK!

I immediately sent in my application and less than a week later I received an email telling me I’d been accepted. Suddenly the vague notion of visiting became reality as I sat in my cold dorm room in Moscow where I was doing my year abroad, booking a trip to Beijing with trembling hands. It was a surreal moment, which was then followed up by an even more surreal month of exploration and novelty.

Almost a year has passed since that visit and I dream of going back to Asia on a weekly basis. Fingers crossed that 2015 is the year I acquire more passport stamps from that region.

Jess in London - Passport StampLove and London | Jess
This is my favorite stamp on my passport because it signifies an extremely huge obstacle that I overcame. You can’t see it in this photo but on the adjacent page there’s that same stamp with a huge X through it from exactly three months before. That was the time that I attempted to go to London to visit my then-boyfriend (now husband) and was detained, refused entry, sent back to New York and banned from entering the UK. Exactly three months later, after a beautiful little wedding in New York and an extremely stressful visa application process, I landed at Heathrow Airport, made it through immigration successfully, and was picked up by my husband. It was the day that our life together began!

MariePassportStampMarie Away | Marie
In August of 2012, my passport was freshly stamped with ink from South Korea. It was my first trip abroad after graduating from university, and the beginning of my new life as an expat and serial traveller. In the months prior, I’d become confused and indecisive about where I was headed in life. Looking back, that stamp marks the beginning of a new life for me: one where I feel more confident in myself, in not feeling tied to any one path. Life in a straight line is pretty boring—I’ll take freedom above stability any day.

Samantha Angell Stamp
Samantha Angell
| Samantha 

My favorite stamp in my passport is the one I received in Amsterdam when my husband and I moved to Sweden. This stamp represents the beginning of my expat journey, and my husband and I’s life abroad. Since August 2, 2013 we have gotten married, lived in two cities in Sweden, traveled throughout Germany, Norway, the Czech Republic, France, Thailand, and the U.S. Because of moving to Sweden and all the travels we had planned, I was inspired to begin my blog and document my travels publicly! This stamp really marks the beginning of a new journey in life, and reflecting back I can see how much I have changed and grown since this day. I cannot imagine myself on a different path now, and look forward to the future stamps I will collect in my passport!

The Redhead Story -Passport Stamp Tunisia-DjerbaThe Redhead Story | Julia
I’ve been here, I’ve lived there and thus I have a nice little collection of passport stamps. Too bad I got a new passport as my old one expired but this is reason enough to continue exploring what the globe has to offer. Amongst all those passport stamps, my favourite one – just judging by the visual appearance – is probably the one I got when I travelled to the Tunisian island Djerba almost exactly a year ago. As interesting as its culture is the passport stamp. It is such a shame that I cannot speak Arabic because if I could, I would actually be able to read what it says in my passport – and much more, such as digging deeper in the cultural habits and make real friends with the locals and, and, and. Of course we know that the name of the country is in it – logically. But see, that is what I mean: the script and thus the language are as striking as Tunisia’s (or particularly Djerba’s) history and culture. I have had the chance to learn a few chunks of Arabic – and there are so many dialects, which I wasn’t aware of at all – and it is such an amazing language. Maybe I should make this my lifelong task: learning to write in an Arabian dialect and being able to have a solid conversation. Djerba is indeed very rich in tradition. Because of all the things I am associating with this travel destination I like this passport stamp the best. For someone who does not have a good command of the Arabian language, this passport stamp is somewhat “mysterious” – as is this certain place on earth where I received it.

Thanks so much for sharing your stories. 

What is your most precious passport stamp or visa?

19 thoughts on “Stamp This! Travel bloggers’ passport stamp stories

  1. Bethany Grace

    This is so interesting! Some passport stamps are so gorgeous and these stories are amazing. I always wish I could get my passport stamped more, but I often miss out as whenever I travel anywhere I usually drive and they tend not to do it so much then.
    Bethany x

    Reply
  2. Stephen & Jess

    Some really beautiful and interesting stories here, also some fantastic looking stamps as well. Some countries need to step their game up.

    Thanks again for letting us share our story behind our little stamp 🙂

    Reply
  3. Hayley Simpson

    My favourite is definitely the very large piece of paper signifying the fact I could live and work in Canada for two years. It was stapled on a page so awkwardly and folded so it always sticks out. But it’s staying there because it was the best time of my life.

    Reply
  4. Alissa

    My favorite was probably the Malaysia stamp cos we had a really funny encounter at the immigration office. I still laugh about it whenever I remember it. haha!

    Reply
  5. Esther

    Oooh, what a fun post! Just today I was thinking that my new passport is filling up with stamps a lot more than the old one. Now, that´s a good sign 😉

    Reply
  6. Kelly

    I absolutely love this post. There are so many great stories on here & I really enjoyed reading them! Thanks again for letting me share my favourite passport stamp story! 🙂

    Reply
  7. Bec

    Love your post Tea! Just came across your blog and love it! I love reading the stories behind the passport stamps! My most favourite passport stamp/s are my stamps from Africa. I went on a 5 week trip to the continent covering 6 countries and I went through multiple border security checks. The best stamp is from the island of Zanzibar (off the coast of Tanzania), which is not considered a country, but you still need your passport to enter! Keep up the great work and look forward to reading more about your travels!

    Reply
  8. Lizzie Vasquez

    Great post! This was such a wonderful idea. I loved hearing all the diverse stories of these bloggers’ favorite stamps. It was especially nice to discover a few new travel blogs to follow! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Rachel

    What a great post, it’s wonderful to read the stories behind the stamps. Of all the souvenirs I treasure from my travels, my passports are the most valuable to me.
    My most precious stamp is probably Syria, back in 2008. I remember visiting the embassy in London and seeing the poster on the wall of the roman ruins of Palmyra and being super excited. The passport had to be left there as it was Christmas and they sent it by special delivery to our address in Scotland! It was the second leg in an overland trip from Istanbul to Cairo and it was by far the highlight, an incredible country. After what has happened since I treasure the stamp, and the memories all the more.

    Reply
  10. Simon

    Love this post! My favourite stamp is probably one from Bogota, Colombia. It’s one of the few stamps (that I know of) that has a plane icon in the stamp. When I think of travel and passport stamps, I think ‘plane’. It’s like the passport version of a plane emoticon 🙂

    Reply

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