Sorry, Canada, I'm a bad influencePosted Wednesday, March 17, 2010, at 4:00 PM
I looked just like a real Canadian and fit right in with the locals.
I commented on his status I had managed to get in and out of Canada a few weeks ago without a passport. He responded back, saying he knew because he had followed my Facebook status updates on the trip and my experience was part of the reason they felt confident they could still get in without everyone having a passport.
So, apparently, people think it's OK to travel to Canada and back without a passport because I did it. I'm sorry, Canada, for being a bad influence. I should also apologize to U.S. boarder officials for sending them more American college students attempting to reenter the country without the proper documents.
As of June 2009, everyone is required by law to have a passport for travel back and forth between Canada.
However, I couldn't find mine, and still don't know where it is, when a last minute opportunity to go to Vancouver during the Olympics arose. Every Web site I found on the subject told me passports were needed to make the journey, but a reporter I know that lives 30 minutes south of the boarder told me the law wasn't being enforced. And with that, I decided to take my chances and head to Canada.
I only needed a birth certificate, which I had with me, to get into Canada, so getting in wasn't a problem. A passport is required to get back into the U.S., but I felt pretty confident they'd let me back in anyways without one. I couldn't see myself getting stuck at the boarder and not being allowed back into the country and having to spend the rest of my days in Canada.
When we drove back through the boarder, I handed the agent a cocktail of documents that included my Idaho driver's licenses, military ID card, birth certificate and social security card and hoped for the best.
He asked where my passport was, I told him I hadn't been able to find it before I left the States. He then gave me a mini-lecture on how I needed a passport because the documents I gave him could all be forged, which I did my best to ensure him they hadn't been. Then he said, "I'll have to give you a warning," followed by, "There isn't anything we can really do about it." Then he smiled, a smile that seemed to say, "but you already knew that, but I'm still required to say it," and let me on my way.
If anyone decides going to Canada is for them, which really, going to Canada is for everyone -- the people there are really nice and it's pretty cool being in a foreign country that doesn't speak a foreign language, please be sure to bring a passport.
Remember, just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD. And there will probably become a point where agents stop being so nice about traveling without a passport.
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The idea behind Robert's Random is for me to write about whatever I'm thinking about whenever I'm thinking it. I try to write 3-5 times a week, but sometimes real work gets in the way of that. Sometimes I'll share whatever random thought I might have that day but most of the time, I like to write about things going on in the news. I'm a total news junkie, I spend a lot of time online at various news sites. If I find a story where someone does something totally stupid or I wonder "what were they thinking?" I don't mind pointing it out incase others missed it or taking my best guess at what they were thinking. I like to laugh, I like to make others laugh. There's so much serious and wrong stuff going on in the news that when I find an unusual or light story, I like to use it. And while real life news events might be the focus of many of my blogs, I'm just trying to entertain you, make you laugh and maybe even think about something you didn't know before reading. I'm not trying to break any serious news or deliver any hard-hitting coverage. You'll have to read a paper or watch one of the network shows for that.
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