It’s been a little over a week now since a wonderfully thick, battered, bright yellow UPS envelope returned to my possession. Yes my visa, the previous bane to my existence and current golden ticket into the United Kingdom, finally arrived.
Let us take a moment to travel back in time to the afternoon of Friday, July 31st when a shy, unfriendly, little man knocked on my front door to deliver this infamous document. About a week after I mailed off my visa application to the British Consulate in New York, I received an email stating confirmation of it’s receipt. After a happy dance and an announcement to my entire workplace, I continued to wait in silence for another week and a half. The anticipation of knowing whether or not I would gain entrance into Scotland proved tiresome, and I had several nightmares consisting of rejections and tears. However, all my worries ended up for not. Barely two weeks past the first email, another appeared in my inbox with the ever wished for words of approval. I, this budding Travelsmith, was granted access to her future stomping grounds.
Truthfully, I don’t think I had ever been more excited to learn about an acceptance in my entire life. The relief I felt in that moment paralleled that of shedding a hundred pounds (or at least what my overly dramatic self imagined such a feat would feel like). Even the excitement I experienced about college acceptances those years back paled in comparison to the sheer, extraordinary bliss I felt knowing the single hardest piece of paper I had completed in my short life thus far would soon be in my possession.
“To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
That being said, if you, like me, state that you must sign for your Visa when it is being returned to you, make certain you get the day exactly right. Nothing is more irritating, than thinking the long awaited package will arrive on a Friday, only to spot a glaringly obnoxious “Sorry We Missed You” note on your door as you come home from work on a Thursday evening. Actually there are many things more disturbing than this #firstworldproblem, like death and poverty and many other true issues in the world… Nevertheless, my personal and selfish frustration was real, present, and demanded to be felt.
So I waited another day. And after standing guard by my door for three hours on a Friday afternoon, I finally got to hold the treasure in my arms: my visa; the mugshot-like photo of myself on a single page in my passport, granting access to the United Kingdom August 24th through January 1st.
Now, once you get your visa, I vote a celebration is in order. Pop some champagne and have a party! Or if you are also someone with a vertical driver’s license AKA under the legal age of 21, call your mom and have a meaningful conversation.
Note: If you are also a UCEAP SPI participant, email a scanned copy of your visa to the Program Coordinators in Edinburgh so they may forward it to the Parliament (as you should recall, this was a step in your Security Background Check & Questionnaire in the Pre-Departure Checklist).