Christmas came by quickly with all the parties, fun events, family bonding time and other activities. For some, it is time to pack up and leave for the places you call home whether permanent or temporary. With your souvenirs, puna, koobi, shito, gari and all the local groceries well arranged in the Ghana-Must-Go bags. (My Ghanaian people). Suitcases ready, passport in hand and goodbyes said, hugs and kisses shared. You arrive at the airport and hear, “I’m sorry we cannot allow you on the flight. Your passport expires in less than six months. H-O-R-R-O-R!!
This was me on July 10th of 2018 when I spent three amazing days in Winnipeg after a friend’s wedding, which I almost missed because I was seven minutes late for boarding and was denied passage. (Story for another day.) My passport had a five-month validity but I would still not be allowed to board my flight back to USA. One Air Canada staff was kind enough to suggest driving to the border where I may be allowed entry into the US and then get on a flight to my final destination.
My newly wedded friend had to then arrange for a ride to the USA across the border at Pembina which was a little over an hour from Winnipeg. After three grueling hours of numerous phone calls, answering questions and paperwork, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) let me on my merry way with a warning to renew my passport immediately. 😀
Three hours later, I was in Grand Forks (North Dakota) where flight tickets were so high, I opted for a GreyHound trip and a two-day stay in a motel as there was no available bus to Ohio the following day. After one full day of sight-seeing, and a quick trip to Walmart in Minnesota, I began my two-day trip from North Dakota to Athens-Ohio.
So before you pack bag and baggage to your next holiday destination, be sure to check that your passport has a minimum of six months validity. If you live across oceans, driving across borders is surely not an option.
On that note, Happy New Year!
Koobi – Salted fish
Gari – Grated Cassava
Puna – Type of yam tuber