One of the greatest movies ever (in my humble opinion :-) ) is While You Were Sleeping. Lucy, the main female character, longs to travel and get away from her life. This is how she is described by another movie character.
She would go all the way to Europe just to get a stamp in her passport. I don’t know if that amounts to insanity, or just being really, really… likable.
I can so relate to her feelings. My most memorable activity in elementary school was our “Around the World” 4th grade unit. Each of us took turns dressing up and presenting information about a country. One of my favorite parts was when we received a new stamp for each country we “visited” in our pretend passports.
After my high school freshman year, I went with my best friend Lindy’s aunt on a trip to visit Lindy & her missionary family who had gone back to Spain . When I went to get my passport, I was excitedly anxious to fill the book with stamps. Well, despite going to over a dozen countries, my first passport looks a little empty with only TWO stamps.
Even though my trip was clear back in 1989, the European political climate had changed enough that passports were no longer checked and stamped at border crossings. Although that system had to made for easier travel, that thought did not occur to me, and I was so disappointed!
I am happy to say that stamped passports have finally made their way back into my life. Both the state of Nebraska and the city of Lincoln have passport programs. Kids AND adults can take their pamphlets to various locations to get stamps. Not only can you choose to go to enough places to fill your passport, but the more places that you visit, the more likely you are to win a PRIZE. (That goes far beyond a simple booklet full of stamps!)
We have completed the “Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown” Lincoln passport program a few times. Several years ago, one of my sons won the grand prize. That just happened to be throwing out the pitch at a Lincoln Saltdogs baseball game, as well as 20 box seat tickets to an additional Saltdogs game. (That was a fun evening!)
My kids are very excited to participate again this summer in the Lincoln program. And this year, we are also going to try to fill up some of the stamps in the Nebraska passport program as well. They were going through the booklets today plotting and planning all of the experiences that we can have together. They are hoping to go to 40 different Nebraska places and win a digital camera for their efforts! (We’ll see if we can manage to meet this lofty goal before running out of steam or tire of putting gas in our Odyssey!)
In the weeks to come, I will be writing more about both of these great programs. But, if you want to find out more right away, you can visit these sites.
Note: you can pick up the passports at any of the participating locations, but you can also download the documents right away!
Since our family is participating in both programs, subsequently many of the places that I will be highlighting will be a part of one, or sometimes even both, passport programs. Between both programs, there are over 100 Nebraska tourist possibilities. Even if we only highlight half of them, I think that ought to keep this blog busy for awhile!