When I got my old passport I was living in a different country, I had not even asked my wife to marry me, and I had no idea of the many wonderful ways in which children can upend your life…

Since then, I asked my then-girlfriend to marry me, moved to another country, bought a house, married my lovely wife, had a wonderful little boy, moved house again, and had a delightful little girl. The passport accompanied me on my honeymoon and on many many business trips. It contains stamps from (in page order) Morocco, USA, Turkey, Bahamas, Anguilla, Cayman Islands, Israel, South Africa, Singapore, Russia, Saudi Arabia1, Australia, UAE, and St Maarten.

Now I have to unlearn the old numbers and start to make friends with the new passport. First trip will be to the USA in ten days' time!

  1. Yes, both Saudi Arabia and Israel in the same passport. The trick is to do it in the right order2: go to Saudi Arabia first, because they won't even let you in with an Israeli stamp in your passport. Then for a palate-cleanser, go to Israel, where the most reaction I got when I presented my passport with the Saudi stamp at Ben-Gurion was a raised eyebrow. 

  2. In point of fact I would argue that the correct order would be not to go to "Saudi" Arabia at all, and just spend time in Israel instead. I love travelling, and I generally find something good everywhere I go: the people, the climate, the landscape, the art, the architecture, the music, the food - something! Saudi Arabia is the first place to score a perfect zero in every single column. Israel, on the other hand, scores very highly in all categories. I will be very happy if I can avoid getting any Saudi stamps in my new passport for its entire decade of validity.