Passport pirouette: Scenic drive into Slovenia

I love a good road trip, and road trips in Europe are an entirely different beast to an Australian road trip - it's all about the distance. Driving across Australia takes days and is all in one country (and while some might find the desert a bit boring, I find it quite refreshing). Driving across … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: In and out of Slovakia, again and again

Slovak passport stamps ... lots of them I have completely lost track of the number of times I have exited and re-entered Slovakia over the years, but of course particularly during the year that I lived there. I had to look up Bratislava on a map after accepting a job there (some might argue … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Feeling criminal in Heathrow

Landing, for once, in an English-speaking country, I really didn't expect to have any problems at passport control. Two British airport employees who seemed to be watching the queue (I'm not sure of their real function!) were quite literally having a cup of tea and I felt like all was right with the … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Getting back into Japan

A lot of the finer points of travel escape your memory when you're looking back on the great times you had, and it wasn't until I was browsing my passport again that I remembered how complicated it was when I wanted to take an overseas holiday away from Japan, during the two years I lived … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Working in Germany

One of my most hard-won visas is this "Auftenthaltstitel" for Germany. Having learnt German as a kid at primary school, and gone on with it through high school and university, I was desperate to live in a German-speaking country to have half a chance of getting a second language up to scratch (and … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: The storks of Marchegg, Austria

During my wonderful year spent living in Bratislava, Slovakia, I hopped across the border to Austria numerous times. This was pretty easy to do given that I could see the border to Austria from my living room window, and that train fares from Bratislava to Vienna were just a few dollars.There were … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Honestly, I’m going to Canada!

I've only had the pleasure of visiting Canada once, when I took a trip to the west coast while I was living in Japan. I'm dying to go back to see more, because my ten-day exploration of Vancouver and Vancouver Island certainly convinced me that Canada has heaps to offer, and that was really just … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: Hairy landing in Vladivostok

I actually didn't plan to go to Vladivostok - as much as I wanted to, since I'd always loved the city's name and could remember singing about it in the Skyhooks song Jukebox in Siberia - if you haven't had the pleasure (and can ignore the fact that Vladivostok isn't actually in Siberia), the chorus … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: A whirlwind Estonian visit

Oh, Estonia. How I adore you! My favourite Baltic state and my saviour after nearly overdosing on Russia on the Trans-Siberian. I sneakily managed another quick visit to Estonia when I took my mother to Moscow and St Petersburg. We had to return to Germany and by far the cheapest way was to take the … [Read more...]

Passport pirouette: The Czech/Slovak visa saga

This page of my passport reminds me of a year-long saga that was a tad frustrating at the time. When I ended up living in Bratislava, I had actually been offered a job in Prague, and it was only at the last minute that the school told me they had over-hired in Prague, and would I mind going to live … [Read more...]