Cambodia visas arrived by email!…Vital passport information, a must see for long term or world travelers! A second passport?

A temple on the busy main street in Negara.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Most mornings we see one of the local workers walking on the beach to a nearby temple with a platter of colorful flower offerings. At first, we thought she was bringing food to a neighbor, but when we asked Gede he explained this ritual. 

Many countries don’t require an actual passport to be sent to a visa procuring company or an embassy. For those in their home countries who must apply for visas, which requires they snail mail their actual passport, and with ample time to do so, (preferably by registered mail) it’s no big deal.

A less crowded road while on the way to Negara.

By snail mailing all the required documents, a week or two later, passports are returned to your mailbox along with the required visas. For us, this prospect is impossible when living outside the US. “Why not?” you may ask? Why not send in our passports as required in ample time requesting a rush return? For us, the answer is clear. 

The closer we got to Negara, the traffic picked up.

What if one of us became ill and had to fly out of the country for more appropriate medical care and, we didn’t have our actual passports in our possession while they were in transit, instead, having only copies? The potential delays in dealing with such a situation could be life-threatening.

Also, if there was political unrest in a country (entirely possible in today’s world) in which we were living and the embassy had to assist us in getting out of the country. Here again, a possible life-threatening situation without the actual passport in our possession.

We’re located in Melaya Beach as shown in western Bali. Negara is south of Melaya with a population of approximately 220,000.

When we first started traveling we had two passports; our main 10-year passports and second two-year passports. This would allow us to feel at ease if we needed to send in the second passports in order to apply for a visa. If an emergency arose, we’d still have the 10-year passport in our possession.

Once we arrive in Negara, the traffic crawls.  

As it turned out during our first few years of travel we never needed to use the second passport for such a purpose. Instead, during the first two years, we used the second passports to get visa stamps at airports, while on cruises, and at cruise ship terminals as opposed to using up pages in our 10-year passports. When the two-year passport expired we began using the 10-year passport.

We thought about continuing to apply for two-year passports, but based on the fact that we never used it for the intended purpose of applying and mailing in documents for visas, we decided against incurring the additional cost of US $340, IDR 4,488,850 every two years for the two of us. 

With only two lanes roads and little to no shoulder, passing could be frightening. But, these drivers on motorbikes, in cars and trucks seem fairly adept at passing on the narrow roads.

Also, if we had the second passports we could use for snail mail, for example through VisaHQ, who just completed our online Cambodia visas (all of which we were able to do online without any snail mail), we’d still have to find post offices, pay for taxi services to and from post offices, and pay for pricey shipping fees both ways. It would still be a “pain-in-the-butt.”

A traditional daytime wedding celebration outdoors at a restaurant.

Based on the fact that we’ve been traveling for almost 44 months and only recently had to address visa issues of any major degree, we’ve accepted the reality of applying for visas at embassies in other countries or, if necessary at immigration offices in the country in which we’re residing at any given time if an extension is required. 

Dozens of trucks were lined up on the highway in the town of Gilimanuk where it required they stop at a weighing station. 

It’s the “nature of the beast.” No one ever said it would be easy.  Then again, no one ever said anything.  Every step of the way in our world travels we’ve been on our own, figuring it out step by step, piece by piece. 

Thank goodness for the Internet. Without it, this amount of travel would have been difficult, if not impossible for us, when quickly our interest would have waned over the challenges of figuring out the endless tasks (and costs) by phone call and snail-mail. 

With as slow as this lineup was moving we imagined the truckers could easily wait all day or overnight for the weigh-in.

We so admire the travelers before us, decades ago, whose sheer determination and desire to see the world took them on a laborious adventure we can only imagine. We’re grateful for our ability to use computers and the Internet with ease which we acquired long before we ever conceived of traveling the world. 

Another decorative archway wishing good fortune to those departing the village.

We have somewhat of an unusual story to share, one we’ve never told here before, of how we developed such an interest in the internet so long ago, for me, beginning in the early 1970s. Please check back tomorrow as we share our story.

Do you have an Internet story to tell? Please share in our comments section at the end of any post. You may do so anonymously if you’d prefer.

Photo from one year ago today, June 9, 2015:

Beautiful sea and mountain view as our ship sailed away from Fiji, one year ago. For more photos and details, please click here.

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