It's not a big thing, but at least, it's something. It's a must-thing to do, for if I don't do it, I can't travel at all. And I must travel far to do it.
I had to travel to Oslo, Norway to renew my passport which is about to expire. Why Oslo? The Philippine government has decided to keep just one embassy to serve all Filipinos in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. Renewing a passport requires personal appearance at the embassy. Hence, the long, long "wasteful" trip to a neighboring country.
We (four of us, one of whom needs to change her family name in her passport) had to travel by car about 1,000 km one way to Oslo. Since it would take 14 hours to travel, we had to take an overnight stopover at a backpacker's inn in a Swedish town close to the Norwegian border before proceeding early the following morning.
It took us within 30 minutes to get done with the papers, though the new passport would be available in January (too long!), after which we started on our way back to Sweden. We skipped sightseeing around Norway's capital city because we had to be back to work as soon as possible, as we already missed two work days.
We traveled for three days (from Sunday to Tuesday), were abroad for some hours, only about 30 minutes in Oslo, spent two nights in backpacker's inns in two places in Sweden, and the rest of the time was used up driving through the distance of about 2,000 km from Umeå to Oslo and back again.
As we drove along, I watched the passing sceneries which comprised mainly of frosty vegetation, leafless trees, evergreen trees, rimy rolling hills and lakes that were almost encrusted with thin sheets of ice. I watched the short daylight fade into darkness. I communed with my "celestial friends" as I sat in my corner of the car. They studded the whole sky with their twinkles. I spotted a few remnants of the Leonid meteor shower zipping across the sky. The hazy sprinkle of Milky Way and the augmented glow of Jupiter followed us all the way until the rain clouds obscured them.
Quite a dull and tiresome trip, but my tryst with the luminaries empowered my psyche. And at least, I've been out of the country this year too. Not so bad after all, huh?