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You need a passport to leave the country

Posted on 02/13/2009 by Kristie VanAuken

I have had such an incredible week. First, I found out that my passport expired six months ago. That might not be a big deal to you, but I am going to Cancun this Saturday! No passport, no trip! So, after a brief freak-out, I scoured the US State Department web site for help. Turns out, if you go to one of their "regional" offices you can turn around a US passport in less than a day. A couple of minor details, you have to produce your old passport and an itinerary proving you are traveling w/in the next 14 days.

So, I got an appointment for this past Monday in Washington D.C. That was pretty slick because I got to give our newest destination a little test drive. After securing the appointment, I quickly booked my ticket to DC aboard US Airways from good ol' CAK. A few hundred dollars later, I was all set for my adventure. The flight was fantastic and there were lots of great passengers (36 on this flight) to chat with.

I ended up having a great day in DC. It is a brilliant city, the weather was nice and I had an appointment with the State Department. Whew! So, about 4 ½ hours later that day, I also had an official US passport.

The best part of the day however, wasn't my chat with former Congressman Ralph Regula (though that was delightful), or my breakfast at a wonderful restaurant with Ed Faberman (that was a treat too), it was witnessing first hand, a new friend becoming a US citizen. Before my eyes, a wonderful Indian born woman, received her certificate of naturalization and a passport. It was an unbelievable moment. We jumped up and down and hugged in celebration.

Life is so generous. Well, now I am officially off to Mexico. I'll report back upon my return.

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Kristie Van Auken

Kristie VanAuken
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing & Communications Officer

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