There are many ways we mark the passage of a year such as birthdays, anniversaries, and New Years. We use birthdays. ending in ‘0’ and the change of a decade to reflect on longer lapses of time. I’ve been lucky enough to see a century/millennium change as we move into the Age of Aquarius. These are all significant markers to reflect on what has passed and wonder what is to come.
This month I have a unique marker of time that designates a very special phase of my life outside of the usual birthdays and holidays. It was time to renew my passport. A few months before my first trip to Egypt, I realized I couldn’t find my passport, so I applied for a new one which was marked with a issue date of September 24, 2008. Although I had been out of the country several time before, this passport marked the beginning of my life as a pilgrim.
2008 was a memorable year for many reasons: my beloved 99-year-old grandmother passed away, Alexandra got her drivers license, Caroline went to college and the financial crisis of the year deeply effect our business. It was an intense year and certainly a dividing line in my life for I was ending one era of parenting and moving on to a phase of my life where I was freer to pursue my interests.
In January of 2009 I got my first stamp in my new passport— a beautiful Egyptian visa, with an iridescent seal and exotic words. I stepped into a new world that was both ancient and modern, exotic and exciting. My wanderlust was ignited and over the next ten years I added many more visas and stamps to my little blue book: England, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Peru, Thailand, Cambodia, Jordan and twice more to Egypt. My final stamp was Taiwan this last January. I hate to retire my well-worn book, but I already have a new passport that is ready for my adventures next year. I’m a bit older in my picture, my address changed, and my occupation is now “writer”. I don’t know where we will travel together but I know it will be an adventure. My passport opened the world for me to explore, changed my life in innumerable ways and allowed me to fulfill my destiny as a pilgrim. As I travel and visit sacred sites near and far, I bring a deeper connection to the sacred in my heart for pilgrimage is time out of time, life lived in the eternal.