A few weeks ago, I had to renew my passport. Over the past four years, I’d filled mine up with an assortment of entry and exit stamps and visas. Although my passport was still valid for another year, it was clear I wouldn’t make it that long: customs and immigration officials were already flipping through looking for that last available square, and some were simply stamping over old stamps just in order to get me out of there.

Uh-oh! Too many passport stamps. Time to renew the passport. You do have one, don’t you? Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

So, I filled out my renewal application, went down to the Passport Office, paid the fee, and got my old (now-void) passport back as a souvenir. But then a curious thing happened: I actually started to get a little anxious that I didn’t have a passport.
For the next two weeks, no matter what I did, I wouldn’t be able to travel outside of Canada. No day-trips to Seattle; no last-minute getaway to Los Angeles, or New York, or Paris. Not that any of those things regularly crop up, but just knowing I couldn’t travel outside of my own country was enough to give me heart palpitations.
Fortunately, seven days later, my shiny new passport arrived in the mail. This one’s all swanky, fitted out with biometric electronic chips and trackers and whatnot as part of Passport Canada’s quest to make the Canadian Passport imp

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