And finally, the bonus question I just had to ask: Does having all those passport stamps make it easier or harder to get through customs?
Having a really thick passport with a ton of crazy visas and stamps always delays me going through customs. In fact, often times I am delayed a while or even taken in for further questions.
The sad thing is it usually happens when I return home to the US, but it can go either way. A border official can say something like "Wow you've got a lot of stamps, very cool" or he could be a jerk and start asking annoying, probing questions and start arguing with me about the answers. This is when I try to just shut my mouth and agree with whatever he says as to avoid any conflict or delay.
Sometimes the customs officials can be so bad that you can't help yourself and say something back, but that's when they send you to the back room for further interrogation. This doesn't happen often, but it has happened to me a few times in the US, Canada, Israel and the UK.
Obviously most young, white, non-military American guys don't have a Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran visa in their passport, so it arouses interest. I understand that but I always carry a business card and say check out my website, this is what I do for a living. Again, it depends on the official's mood if he gives you trouble or not. However, having that many visas and stamps definitely slows me down through customs.
For more on Lee Abbamonte's travels, visit his site, LeeAbbamonte.com. No visas necessary.
All photos courtesy of Lee Abbamonte For more, follow me @ericrogell.