Got Passport?

Less than 40% of Americans have a passport! What about you?

Do you have travel dreams?

The Passport Party Project wants to help you get on your way... responsively and responsibly.

100 Girls

100 girls from Phase 1 got their first passports and are on the road to global citizenship!

Volunteers Make All The Difference

The Passport Party Project relies on volunteers to help foster travel dreams.

The world is your oyster.

Where will you go first?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

And They're Off!


"‎[My 15 year old daughter] Breana flies into Milan, Italy on the 9th, [and] will continue on to explore Europe's Mediterranean Coast, and will end up in Barcelona, Spain on the 17th [with her school].

"Thanks so much [to] the Los Angeles Passport Party... [M]y baby is going to be exposed to so much more than Southern California... Her perspective is going to be broadened considerably. I absolutely LOVE the thought of that!!!"
~ T'Ana Monique Marshall
Facebook

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Girls Have Arrived!




Early evening delivery
was a breeze
and quite painless.

Yesterday was a pretty big day in The Passport Party Project (PPP) house.  PPP founder and Executive Director Tracey Friley welcomed two new additions to the PPP family and she couldn't be happier!  (For those who have been inquiring, Friley is fine.  She is resting now, after an early evening delivery.)

***

And without further delay (we know everyone is anxious), it is with great joy that we announce The Girls (pictured here with Friley on delivery day).


Meet Casey (short for her given name Suitcase, pictured left)...and her more sizable twin sister Leta (pronounced Let-uh and short for her given name Maleta).  Aren't they adorable and bright??!?! 

And while they were delivered just yesterday, Leta (dressed so beautifully in neon yellow) is ready to hit the road today for her first trip to Los Angeles while Casey needs a little time to get acclimated to her new life and will be staying behind.

To stay up to date on Casey and Leta's travels as they advocate for passports and youth travel across the country and across the globe, please join Friley and The Girls on The PPP Facebook page so you can stay abreast of:  Where Are Those Girls?


Cupcakes for everyone!!!

 
*Smirk*


This post is sponsored by Bags by eBags,
Official Luggage Sponsor of The Passport Party Project.

Casey & Leta are from Bags by eBags'

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Passport Photo of the Day

Meet Anita.
She's an advocate of The Passport Party Project and a long-time supporter of OneBrownGirl.com®. Her Facebook status (which I was tagged on and is copied below) made my day so I asked her to send in a photo to match the enthusiasm in her post. It's clear that The Passport Party Project doesn't just inspire teen girls, but adult girls too! ;-) This is just fantastic!
"Just got my shiny new passport and guess what I'm doing? Checking to see if there's space available to travel to Belize next weekend. Me thinks [The Passport Party Project] would be proud."



***
If you would like to be a part of The Passport Party Project family, we would ♥ to have you! In the spirit of the travel photo booth at each Passport Party, if you would like to get together with a bunch of your friends, with one friend, or even solo and then take a photo (with your passport, with a sign that says something relevant to this initiative, or the like), I would love to use it creatively during the campaign. Passport Party Project supporters are a very important part of this cause and to be able to show the girls involved that people like you support global awareness is tantamount to the success of this program. A photo release will be sent to you once your provide the photo. How does that sound?! Get creative! =D Email photo to PassportPartyProject@gmail.com.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Passport Photo of the Day


Meet Jill Kunishima and her 13-month old goddaughter Zara Germain, both of whom hold their own United States Passports.  #AbsolutelyPositivelyAdorable

***

If you would like to be a part of The Passport Party Project family, we would ♥ to have you! In the spirit of the travel photo booth at each Passport Party, if you would like to get together with a bunch of your friends, with one friend, or even solo and then take a photo (with your passport, with a sign that says something relevant to this initiative, or the like), I would love to use it creatively during the campaign. Passport Party Project supporters are a very important part of this cause and to be able to show the girls involved that people like you support global awareness is tantamount to the success of this program. A photo release will be sent to you once your provide the photo. How does that sound?! Get creative! =D Email photo to PassportPartyProject@gmail.com.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bags By eBags® Joins The Passport Party Project as Official Luggage Sponsor!

Well, shiver me timbers, Bags by eBags has joined the party!  I am over the moon! 

Just when I thought the party couldn't get any better, Denver Colorado-based Bags by eBags is stepping in to help contribute to giving girls a world view with another critical travel tool:  High quality, highly-rated luggage.  


EXO Hardside Spinner Luggage
Bags by eBags
NOW GET THIS:   Bags by eBags is gifting each winner of the Travel Vision Board contest at each Passport Party with her very own (super colorful!) EXO Hardside Spinner carry-on like the one pictured here! Even the volunteer bloggers will get a chance to win a Universal Plug Adapter Kit (another travel must-have) when they let the Party Girls choose which blogger has the Best Passport Photo! #OhBoy

Did you think I was finished?  Um.  Nu uh.

One lucky Wrap Party attendee is going to win a set of luggage too!  Yep.  You heard me right.  In February 2013, The Passport Party Project is holding an online contest for those guests registered to go to The Passport Party Project's Official Wrap Party being held in April 2013 at La Concha Resort in sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Kaboom!

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm not finished.
Bags by eBags > Mother Lode Jr. + Weekender

After 100 girls have been gifted with their first passports at the end of the campaign and after Expedia® and The Passport Party Project announce the six winners of the all-expense paid trip to get their first passport stamp, Bags by eBags is going to *drum roll please* outfit each winner and the parent or guardian traveling with each winner with a set of luggage for the trip! That's twelve sets of luggage, ladies and gentlemen. *Back flip with a triple somersault landing in a split* Can I get a Woot! Woot!

Look.  There's more, but all of this excitement is causing me to have to go lie down (not to mention that I'm sore from doing the splits), so PLEASE, consider Bags by eBags the next time you're in the market for new luggage or travel accessories.  These people have heart...







You can find Bags by eBags on
   

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Passport Profiles: San Francisco Passport Agency


"Travel is an education.  You can't understand how it feels to be in a foreign country unless you are there.  No books can teach you that."
~Michael Silva, San Francisco Passport Agency

Michael Silva, Customer Service Manager & Angela R. Jenkins, Adjudication Supervisor
San Francisco Passport Agency

Mike's World Map
Michael Silva is an interesting guy.  He has worked for the San Francisco Passport Agency since January 6, 1969 (he remembered the exact date!); first as a Passport Examiner and now 40 years later as the Customer Service Manager.  In his office taking up a significant portion of the wall is a world map that chronicles all of the different places he has traveled; each location represented with different colored dots that represent what year he was there.  His first trip abroad was to Greece and he got his first passport in 1971, two years after he started working at the agency.  His top two favorite destinations are Istanbul and Rio because "they are both so scenic and picturesque."  This guy is a walking-talking travel historian of sorts and it was a pleasure to sit down and chat with him, my very own Mr. Passport.  =)

I got a chance to meet Mike because I was one of a number of bloggers nationwide invited by the US Bureau of Consular Affairs office in Washington DC to visit my local passport office on Passport Day in the USA, a day when the general public is invited to apply for or renew a passport on a Saturday, a day when passport offices are never open and without an appointment. It was close to 2pm when I arrived and there was still a flurry of activity going on with just about an hour left before the office closed at 3pm.  I took the elevator to the 5th floor, went through security and checked in at the information booth to see Mike.  Like everyone else that showed up that day, I received a passport factoid & game book (which I will definitely try to make use of at Passport Parties), a cute little faux passport and a refrigerator magnet.  (I also got tapped on the shoulder by security while I Foursquared my location.  You can't take photos in a government building, he scolded.  And no, I didn't see the signs.) 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Passport Day in the USA
 
I spent about an hour or so with Mike asking questions and getting answers, some of which I was surprised to hear. 

1.  First, this particular office San Franciso office (located at 95 Hawthorne Boulevard) is for expedited passports only and is not open to walk-ins who are applying for a passport and in no particular hurry to get one.  You can go to the local post office or apply online for that.  But if you need your passport in two weeks or less, you simply call in to the National Passport Center and make an appointment for expedited processing.  With the right documentation and $60, you can walk away with your passport on the very same day.  Mike told me that San Francisco typically processes about 150-200 expedited passports per day.
Where the magic happens.
San Francisco Passport Agency

2.  Passport applications do not come in Spanish.   Bummer.  There is however a two-parent consent handout that explains passport requirements in Spanish.  This was actually my very first question since many of the girls' who participate in The Passport Party Project have Spanish-speaking parents.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed.
    3.  A little over 300 passport applications were processed during Passport Day in the USA at the San Francisco Passport Office with about 50 denials. 
    4.  The staff is multicultural and multilingual with 25 Passport Specialists in the San Francisco office.  Love that.
    Part of the team of Passport Specialists working on a Saturday.
    San Francisco Passport Agency
    Anju Shrestha, Passport Specialist
    San Francisco Passport Agency
    5.  Mike took me on a tour of the office, but you can't really take that many photos inside government buildings.  I really wanted to take a photo of the mini-passport museum that was in a small case in the training room.  It showed the evolution of passports and what they used to look like, but my trusty travel historian Mike suggested I go to Ancestry.com to check out some old celebrity passports.

All in all, it was an interesting day.  I didn't get to see EXACTLY how passports are made, but I was able to see how this efficient operation runs and meet some very nice people.  I did, however, find this YouTube video that explains the passport making process in detail.





 

I appreciate the invite from the Consular's Office and am looking forward to hearing about what went on at Passport Offices in other parts of the nation from bloggers like @WorldTravelMom (in DC), @TheTINYJewelBox (in Miami), @brianepeters (in New York), and a bunch more I haven't heard from yet! 
Afterwards, and with all of this new information, you can just start calling me Ms. Passport (if you haven't already).  ;-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Passport Party Project Hits Austin!

The Austin Passport Party Crew
March 3, 2012

"...[T]his project touched my heart. I remember being a girl who wanted to travel the world, but I grew up in small town where no one went anywhere. I would have loved to have spent time with other girls & adults/mentors who shared my dreams. Instead I spent a lot of time at the library reading National Geographic & books about travel."
~Barb Hautanen on Facebook

Austin Passport Party Recap
by Shelley Seale of Trading Places
Last Saturday, March 3, I was thrilled to be part of a new movement that is gifting girls aged 11 to 15 with their very first passports. The Passport Party Project, brainchild of Tracey Friley, came to Austin – and did we ever have a blast with the 10 girls from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders!

I first learned about the concept for the Passport Party Project last July, at the Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) conference in Vancouver. During one session in which the travel bloggers in attendance could make pitches to corporate sponsors that included American Express and Expedia. Tracey Friley, who writes the blog OneBrownGirl.com, stood up and made her pitch.

Read more from Shelley here.



"20 down, only 80 more to go...."