Image of United States Passport by Mkt3000 dot vim - Photograph taken by Robert Rexach www.mkt3000.com, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2935730 - Both images from Wikipedia.
Lying abed a few minutes ago, I was treated to a BBC report chiding America for having so few peoples' being equipped with passports - something fewer than 40% of US citizens as compared to, say, 75% of the Brits. [US State Department lists 136 million active passports.] Lack of passport was equated with Americans' being "inward-looking" as opposed to citizens of other countries' being "outward-looking". My, oh, my. The BBC personality did go on (reading from a script, one assumes) about how parochial are Americans. Point well taken. However, there are mitigating circumstances.
The first three thoughts that came to my mind were: 1) Ecologically speaking, extensive travel manufactures air pollution - which I am led to believe is a bad thing. 2) Financially speaking, travel from much of the United States to anywhere for which a passport is required, is expensive. 3) With such varied climates, geological/biological conditions, and cultures available within the North American portions of the United States, why would one wish to invest the time and money to cross an ocean?
There are websites listing more reasons to eschew travel requiring a passport; but, I think the three reasons, above, serve adequately. I did find a relevant page on the government website, Where Can U.S. Citizens Travel Without a Passport? Below is an excerpt from that page.
Citizens of the United States can travel to any of the fifty states in the U.S. without a passport. People may sometimes be confused by this, because the land mass of the United States is so huge, yet it is all one country. So while Europe, Africa, South America, and other great land masses are divided into separate countries requiring passports to cross borders within them, it is not the case in the United States. You can drive throughout the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia without a passport; in fact, sometimes a big welcome sign is the only indication you've passed from one state into another.
Even Hawaii, which is a great distance from the U.S. [sic] and has its own unique exotic island vibe is still one of the 50 U.S. states and doesn't require a U.S. passport. The only exception may be Alaska, and only because of its location. It's separated from the lower 48 states by Canada, so if you're going by land you may have to present a U.S. passport at the Canadian border if you aren't otherwise qualified with WHTI document to enter their country. If you're flying from any U.S. state to Alaska and returning the same way, you won't need a passport.
Each region and each state of the United States has a rich history and culture which offers a wide variety of attractions that are worth seeing. From world-class cities like New York and Los Angeles to a tropical paradises like Hawaii, there are hundreds of spots that rival any foreign destination. Here are just a few of the opportunities that exist in the USA.
- 285 incorporated places with a population of at least 100,000
- more than 400 amusement parks
- 17,500+ museums
- 398 areas in the national park system
- 7911 beaches
In my own case, there have been several years during which it would have been highly inconvenient for me to have undertaken international travel due to the nature of the work in which I was engaged. Being employed on five highly classified development programs, I would have had to give up five special access clearances before leaving the States. Upon my return, I would have had to go through de-briefing on each of the programs and been read back in. (As I recall, each clearance required that I answer 26 pages of questions. Oy vey!) I could not go to Canada or Mexico (a short drive from where I worked in California) let alone travel to a land that required me to have a passport. A few years later (1992?), having returned to Kansas, The Little Airplane Company paid for me to obtain a passport - in case I needed one to fulfill my duties. (Of course, my bosses did all of the international travel. Who could blame them?)
Truly, with a passport that expires in 2020, I've no yen to undertake major travel just to use it. I did quite enough domestic traveling for my job during the years of 1981-1990, thank you. I'll enjoy reading accounts from friends who live abroad (Stu, for example - who spent much time in the Continental USA; I must say that I miss Val, in England - who has suspended blogging) and of friends who do much traveling abroad (Dan, for example); but, regardless of the miles put in just getting to/from work sites, there is much of the Continental USA that I've not seen. Even there, virtual trips via computer and TV mostly suffice. Travel, for me, is enjoyable when it takes me back to places I've already been (Albuquerque, for example).
Hunky Husband has done his share of job-related travel. Not only has he visited England, Germany, and Israel - he has visited our 50th state!
Take that, BBC! *laughing*
One notes that I still have my radio tuned to the local carrier of BBC radio, all night long.