Sixteen was a big year for me.  I got my drivers’ licence, my first passport and my first trip out of the country.  Most kids pine for their drivers licence, to open up all kinds of new opportunity and freedom.  For me, my first passport held that same promise.  For years and years I dreamed, read, wrote and waited for my opportunity to travel internationally.  I knew there was so much more outside of the small Midwestern town I grew up in.  I couldn’t wait to see and taste the world.

That little blue book that I covet more than any other possession,  (seriously if you know me I don’t get attached to many things, but never ask me to give up that passport!) has taken me to 3 continents and brought me to the love of my life.  It opened my eyes to see the wider world, helped me to understand where I came from and taught me people are people no matter where they are.  I became a better person because of the opportunities that that document held.

I’m writing this because I want to share with you a really great program run by my blogging friend Tracey at One Brown Girl.  The Passport Party Project aims to give girls 11-16 their first passport and open up the world to them.  Only 30% of Americans hold a passport and I can tell you from personal experience it IS life changing.  The project aims to give 100 girls their first passport in 18 months and is off to a great start!   I support this project with my whole heart and truly believe that being a part of the global world is vital to our success as individuals and as a nation.

Recently a friend of mine went to Morocco – her first trip outside of the Americas.  She faced a lot of criticism and fear from people back home about what her trip would hold.  She posted this a few days ago;

“On this day, God wants you to know … that there is much more good in this world than bad. Don’t let the media fool you. There are kind, good-hearted, generous, loving people all over this world. They just don’t get nearly as much attention as the ‘bad guys’. Remember that there is goodness and love all around.

This trip has really been an eye opener for me and this paragraph above sums it up. Muslims are a very loving hospitable group of people that the news makes look bad every day. I want everyone to know there are good and bad in every religion but in my experience I have met only wonderful Muslims in the United States and in Morocco. Open your mind and your hearts to get to know a Muslim without fear. You will gain a new friend.”

Travel does that.  A passport opens that door.  Reaching out to people, especially to girls when they are young stops those negative impressions from forming.

If you’d like to know more or get involved visit The Passport Party blog.  Like it on Facebook.  If you’re feeling really generous, consider making a donation to help provide a passport for a young girl.  You really can change a life.

I’d love to hear your stories about getting a passport, where you first took your passport, or where you’d love to go once you do get one!