DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend has invited me to go to visit his family in another country. It sounds like a great trip, but I have a problem: I do not have a passport. I have never been out of the country, and I’m worried about traveling to Mexico at this time. There’s so much talk about the border and how dangerous it is to cross, I am worried about traveling there and about whether my boyfriend will be safe coming back. He has a green card, but everything is so volatile right now, it makes me nervous. What should I do? -- No Passport
DEAR NO PASSPORT: First of all, it is smart for you to have a passport that you keep up to date. In this way, you can freely move anywhere in the world if you so desire.
Beyond that, be careful not to make assumptions about visiting your boyfriend’s family based on watching the news. Mexico is a huge country. Where does your boyfriend’s family live? Find out what the politics are where they are located. Many parts of Mexico are safe. Some are even thriving tourist areas. Do your research, which should include talking to your boyfriend about what he expects the trip will entail. Find out how often your boyfriend travels back and forth to see his family. You have to be careful not to buy into stereotypes. If your boyfriend is legitimately able to travel to and from the United States, his travel should be easeful. Find out as much as you can about this journey before you make a decision. Do not allow the inflammatory discourse of politics to derail your plans.