Would you prefer a red or blue passport? | Jabbering Journo column
My new passport arrived in the post this week.
The new one looks much the same as the old one with faintly leather-look, shiny, burgundy with a glitzy royal coat of arms for the United Kingdom adorned with heraldic lion and chained unicorn (legend means a free unicorn was considered dangerous - you read into that what you will).
But my new passport has one crucial difference - not counting the horrific addition of the photo of some miserable older-looking woman me - as it has two missing words.
European and Union.
I’m not about to start a Brexit debate (too late now) but it does feel somehow that my access to the world has been curtailed slightly.
I’ve also realised that I’ll be one of the last people in the UK to sport the burgundy document as the roll-out for the new blue ones starts next week.
But there is something about a passport as it holds not just your official identity but clues to your history.
On one hand I was glad to be rid of the old one with its erroneous emergency contact information (my ex and my dad at his old address) but on the other it is a proud record of my travels over the past decade, its pages heavy with precious stamps and visas, the back covered in dozens of luggage stickers - it was dog eared with experience and stories unfolding.
It tells tales of glorious holidays, repeated trips to the US( my ex is American) and press-related trips to destinations I could never normally afford.
It closes a chapter of my life which I would flick through with pride and mixed emotions while standing in long queues for passport control and security.
I have it back now, the corner cut off and I will keep it for the memories.
I will tell the youngsters, it gave me the key to Europe, without the need for a visa - it’s a document from an era they will never understand.
The unicorn’s chains lie slightly heavier now.
Meanwhile, my new passport with its newer, shinier, crest and wistful, empty stamp-free pages, is crying out to be filled, fuelling my wanderlust and making me wonder what the story of our next decade will be.