by Mary Teeter, Greenheart Director of Development
This blog was supposed to highlight helpful tips to celebrate National Passport Day, a little known bi-annual holiday, established by the US Department of State.
But in a not-so-unexpected-now-that-its-happened kind of TWIST: National Passport Day (originally scheduled for March 9) was cancelled this year due to government sequestration.
“Passport Day in the US” is a Department of State initiative. Two Saturdays a year, the DOS graciously keeps doors open at Regional Passport Agencies (and “hundreds of participating non-Department passport application acceptance facilities”), making it easier for citizens to apply for a passport. While many libraries, post offices and local government spaces honored the day, the main mover and shaker had to bow out.
Having and using a passport has become a luxury. Plane ticket costs rise with oil prices. An adult U.S. passport costs $135 (renewing passports costs $110). National Passport Day was cancelled to save the government money.
And yet international travel –having and using a passport! – is an important part of our modern economy (supporting about 1.2 million U.S. jobs), our national security (ex: 100,000 Strong Initiatives) and our global relevance. Studies show international travel makes us more creative and, as many a Pinterest quote board will tell you, it’s “the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” Still, only 30% of Americans have passports – compared to 60% of Canadian and 75% of the United Kingdom.
So how do we celebrate this important holiday – even if it’s cancelled and even if we kinda fail regularly at it compared to our neighbors?
1) “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” (Thank you, Ghandi, for that.) Get a passport. (Raise our US stats! USA all the way!) Renew your old one. Go to www.state.gov/travel to learn more. Travel somewhere. See something. Change your world view. Then change someone else’s. Don’t make excuses. Don’t wait. The world may be around for a while, but life is short.
2) Give a passport to adventure to someone else. (Holidays are often for gift-giving, right?) Donate today to Greenheart’s Environmental Service Learning Scholarship, a special 2-week environmental and cultural immersion program in Costa Rica for economically disadvantaged Chicago high school students. Many of these scholarship students have never seen anything outside their city streets, so this adventure of a lifetime starts with a passport. Help create future leaders and global citizens. Donate here!
3) Get inspired by visiting Greenheart Travel’s Pinterest page. Trust me. The beauty of this world – the reason for a passport… it’ll take your breath away.