First Passport Stamp in Ghana: Renewing my Passport

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I can’t believe how quickly 10 years have passed. I recently dropped off my passport renewal application at LAX Post office located at 9029 Airport Blvd, Los Angeles California. I completed the application online, paid the fee by debit card ($110) for the passport book ($30) passport card, and took my photo there for an additional fee of ($15) (It is to be noted you can have your photo taken for about $9 at CVS or Walgreens or for free at your home). The whole process of renewing the application took approximately 15 minutes to complete.

My first international trip was during Summer 2007. I’ve always wanted to travel to Africa. While attending college at California State Long Beach, I would frequent the study abroad office and pick up brochures for South Africa. In 2006, I met a young lady on campus who told me that she had recently completed a study abroad trip to Ghana. I had never heard about Ghana but was interested in going. I was put in contact with the coordinator Ms. Hund from Long Beach City College.

 

To prepare for the trip I begin asking for donations. Due to the fact, that I was a college student and it was my first time studying abroad, people were willing to help me fund the trip. Two of my largest contributions came from my Aunt Freda and Youth Opportunity Movement in the form of $1000. I also received smaller donations from various people and an IPOD from my Uncle Odell. Don’t be afraid to ask for funding especially if it is your first time traveling or you will be completing community or activism work while abroad.

A year later, I left the USA and traveled with 12 beautiful women from various backgrounds. I am still in contact with some of the ladies and we often meet up up for lunch or special occasions.

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Kakum National Park
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Wli Waterfalls

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The trip started off disastrous. Before even leaving the country, the airlines broke my luggage and gave me a cardboard box to put my items in, Lufthansa airline flight was delayed and we spent a night in Germany and after arriving in Ghana our luggage was lost for 2 days.

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Waiting on our next flight

Thank God the remainder of the trip went well. For approximately, 6 weeks I traveled to 4 different cities within Ghana: Accra, Cape coast, Kumasi and the Volta Region. Each city represented something different. Cape coast is my favorite due to it being by the ocean and the slow pace of the small city. While there I took a geography class, provided school supplies and helped build a roof in a village, took a dance and drum class, stayed with a host family, went to the beach, visited slave castles, danced the night away, shopped for African fabric, visited W.E.B Dubois grave, etc. I fell in love with the culture, people, food, land, and the handsome men. If you are a plus sized woman expect to be overwhelmed by the attention from the Ghanian men. I thought to myself, “I have been living in the wrong country all my life”. I loved Ghana so much that I have been back 5x.

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Slave castles in Cape Coast
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Elmina Castle
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Passing out school supplies in the village
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Helping to build a roof in a classroom

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Sipping from a coconut
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Beach in Capecoast
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Children on the beach that I wanted to bring back home with me
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Cute Ghanian Vendor
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Stay home Mother, Sister & Roommate

In 10 years, I have been able to collect passport stamps from all over the world. I have been to Ghana 5x, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Caribbean Islands (St. Marteen, St. Lucia, Virgin Islands, Bahamas), Mexico City, Ensenada, Mexico, Thailand, Puerto Rico and various states in the USA. I’m looking forward to 10 more years of travel.

 

Renewing Passport 

  • Form DS-82 Complete online application and print or manually complete app
  • Passport booklet
  • One color photo
  • Marriage certificate if you have had a name change.
  • Pay Fee- $110 for passport booklet and $30 for a passport card (can only be used to re-enter the United States at land border crossings and sea ports-of-entry from: Canada. Mexico.

Applying for a new Passport

  • Form DS-11 Complete online app and print or manually complete app
  • Proof of US Citizenship (a previous US Passport or certified Birth Certificate
  • One color photo-(2×2 inches in size)
  • Fee-  $110 for passport booklet and $30 for a passport card

Please visit the website for detailed instructions

Where did you collect your first passport stamp?? Tell me your fondest memory about your first passport stamp.

 

58 Comments

  1. My first international trip was in June 2016 where me, my mom & daughter traveled to Japan to visit my brother & his family. While I wasn’t fond of the flight (or flying in general), it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had so far.

  2. Ghana is so freaking close to Nigeria, l feel bad that l haven’t been yet. We would have last month but my hubby only had a visa for one time entrance to Nigeria. So glad you had fun and l”m not surprised you had the men all hot and bothered. For African men, plus size means healthy and desirable :-).

    • Yes I quickly learned plus size is seen and wealthy. I was like I’m a broke college student but if you think I’m wealthy I can be ok with that. It super close next you and the hubby have to get a visa for Ghana

  3. I see your travel experiences started with a study abroad program 10 years ago! How cool I wish I was able to travel abroad while in college, I just couldnt. But I did get my 1st passport stamp in 2015 on a press trip to Cancun as a travel ambassador with a travel agency. Since then I have gotten 10 stamps and looking for more! I hope I can do a travel abroad program myself this year for learning spanish working on it!

  4. I love traveling but I haven’t done enough of it. My first passport stamp was in the US. I am from Haiti and when I was younger, my father would have my brother and I vacation in the US during the summer. Now I am a US citizen. I have been to places like Costa Rica, Switzerland, Bahamas, Puerto Rico and different states. I’m hoping to travel to Asia this year for my honeymoon. I know you’re having lots of fun traveling the world.

  5. You are quite the traveler. My first passport was for a trip to Ghana that I didn’t take. But I have collected a few since then. My boys had their first ones at 2 & 6. I’m hoping they keep collecting stamps for a lifetime.

  6. I love this post! I recently read Homegoig by Yaa Gyasi and it made me want to visit Ghana. I am planning a trip there for November of this year and will try to include as many cities as you listed in my itinerary. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. This seems like it was an amazing experience. I wish Ghana was one of my first passport stamps. I’ve been wanting to visit for the longest! I love living vicariously through your travels.

  8. I love that you’re just enjoying your life through travel. You can study the culture and try authentic recipes, but nothing beats traveling to places that you’ve only seen on a globe. Happy travels!

  9. Congratulations on achieving a dream that you had when you are in college. Lots of people usually let go of those dreams after college but you held on and got there! I admire that!

  10. Awesome! I have yet to touch the continent of Africa, but I’ll be going to Morocco in September. My first (and second) passport stamp was to Trinidad when I was 8 & 18. The first trip was great because I spent 3-4 weeks with my cousins playing and walking around all over meeting new family members from my mom’s side. I’ve gone back at least 3 times since and am on my 3rd book now.

  11. Visiting Africa is on my bucket list! I still have a year left on my passport, but I don’t have nearly as many stamps I’d hoee to have by now. Life took over preventing some things right now, but I”m still hopeful that this year is my year of travel! Thanks for sharing your awesome experience and congrats for achieving your dream!

    • Thank you Daria. Life certainly happens so I can understand. Hopefully 2017 will be your year of new travels and destinations around the world. Places such as Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania are good place to start.

      • Hi Tiffany,

        I have a granddaughter getting ready to leave for Ghana to attend ot the university there and I probably be going to visit her.

        Any advice on the see and do. Pros and cons

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