I’ve filled three passports with visa stamps since I got my first one. But my current travel document has been neglected of late. It’s been sitting in the top drawer of the bureau I inherited from my Oupa. The oak bureau that was already old before I was born. The one that made the journey from Holland to South Africa several lifetimes ago before it ever could have imagined traveling with me to the States.

It holds secrets and treasures.

And for more than two years now it’s held my unused passport – my green and gold ticket home. I’m bringing that passport out of retirement. But not for the reason I would have imagined. Not for the jacaranda trees and gumboot rhythms of Africa. Not for the tight, tight hugs of homecoming. Not for the smell of the veld and the sound of several  languages all spoken loudly at once.

No, it’s time to get my passport back in the game because someone asked me to be a bridge.

Someone asked me to be a window. Someone asked me to be a voice. Someone asked me to tell a story. And my passport winked at me. I’ve lived in or spent time in at least 17 countries and none of them in South or Central America. I speak three (and a half) languages and none of them Spanish. But my passport thinks that’s irrelevant.

So I said, yes.

Yes to traveling with Compassion International to Guatemala in the fall. Yes, to looking at the world through someone else’s eyes. Yes, to building a bridge between two worlds – using only my words.

Will you cross it with me?

Because if travel has taught me anything, it’s that under all our differences, we are all the same. We love, we ache, we cry. We eat, we sing, we laugh. Toddlers take first steps and parents hold their hearts in their hands. Siblings fight and make up harder than friends and the seasons keep changing no matter how much we might want time to stand still.

We are all molded in the same image, no matter what language we speak. And when the Potter asks, there is only one answer.

So I said, yes. Yes and thank you.

Compassion Bloggers: Guatemala 2010

On behalf of my passport and my heart.