Every time my dad would travel somewhere, even if it was just to Tijuana for the day, my grandmother would make him Xerox all of his documents. In case there is an emergency, it is important to be able to prove your identity.
Not just your passport, which the US State Department recommends, but literally every document you might need in your life ever. What if you are detained by a Mexican cartel or someone steals your wallet or if you get into legal trouble or if there is a storm or an earthquake or if? Or if? Or if?
So, Driver’s license. Check. Social Security card. Check. Credit Cards. Check. Recent photos, medical records, and bank account information. Also check. Sandwich club cards and contact information for high school friends. Probably all that too. Just to be safe.
Preferably, all of this will be contained in a meticulously organized stack, contained in a manila folder that can then be contained in a filing cabinet inside the den next to a computer that needs to boot up for five minutes. You never know what might happen, so best to get your affairs in order ahead of time (even if those affairs are really just peace-of-mind-Xeroxes).
For all of the traveling my father did she never stopped him. Instead, she just kept an ever-growing anthology of his papers. Just in case.
- Alexandra Bay is a an aspiring writer trying to find her place in the world. Alexandra graduated from the University of Arizona with a MA in history the same weekend that her grandmother died and, shortly after, packed up all her belongings to live in a truck. Alexandra now lives in a house in Salt Lake City where she is eagerly awaiting summer.