“And it’s because I was born in the right place and carry the right passport. Canada ranks as the 4th best passport to hold for travel freedom, we have the ability to travel to 170 countries, opposed to the 43 countries Afghani people can. Not to mention how simple it is to obtain a visa, whereas many people are denied on prejudice or difference of religion.”
– Krystin Ross, Canvas
Very rarely do you know what you’re going to get when rolling the dice at a border crossing. Some, like crossing the Mekong River into Laos are so easy, you feel like you could just walk right past the guards into the country. Others, like the United States, make it very complicated and sometimes nearly impossible, even for its own citizens.
On my last return to the U.S. for my father’s funeral, I had a bacterial eye infection that had begun to spread over a portion of he left side of my face. Because of this, I was wearing large aviator sunglasses on the plane and inside the airports while the antibiotics were doing their work. In the Chicago airport, I was stopped amidst hundreds of people passing through by a pompous security guard who I suspect was simply drunk on his own inflated sense of power. He kept me in the same spot in the otherwise constant stream of people recycling variations on the same questions over and over for well over 5 minutes.
“Where are you going?” “Home to Michigan.”
“Why were you in Thailand?” “I live there and I work there.”
“Why are you wearing sunglasses?” I lift my glasses to show him my eye
“Why are you going to Michigan?” “It’s where I grew up and my family lives.”
“Why were you in Thailand so long?” “I live and work there.”
And this same cyclical conversation continued in nearly any conceivable form for a ridiculous amount of time. Given why I was there, the condition of my eye, and the fact I was going on zero sleep after 24 hours of last-minute plane rides across 12 time zones, I was certainly not in the mood for this. And it was absolutely ludicrous that I should have to put up with this kind of treatment as a citizen returning to my own country.
Take a scenario like that and flip it to another viewpoint of someone who is not born in a country whose political relations or the simply views of other countries don’t allow them easy access to legally enter these other nations. Completely putting aside the economic factors needed to travel, many of these people would be denied entrance outright or the bureaucratic and paperwork process would be so tortuous that it would never be able or worth the effort to complete.
This week’s Weekly Reblog looks on the upside of this of this flipped coin. Krystin, the author and a Canadian citizen, has a very similar palette of countries she can go to as I, and most westerners, can. Not that even even our two similar and neighbouring countries are immune from difficult borders. She looks at ease of travel with which she and others can have and the difficulty of many others who might like to travel the same way. Her blog extends this sense, exploring an appreciative and upbeat look on destinations she has visited that are usually well outside of the normal scope of the common beach-going Full Moon Partiers who are so prevalent throughout the region.