Taking Travel for Granted

Equals Access

U.S. Passport = Access

There are obvious hurdles in planning a RTW trip — time and money top the list.  But what if you had the resources and simply weren’t legally welcome to visit other countries?

Citizens of the U.S., Canada, Australia and the European Union generally can travel anywhere.   For our trip, no visas are needed for half of the countries we’re visiting, and a turnkey tourist visa will suffice for the other half.  That’s not the case for the majority of the world’s population.  If you remove the socio-economic barriers of travel, the simple FREEDOM to travel is not a given for many.

Take Barbara Adam’s family for example.  Barbara is an Aussie married to a Vietnamese man.  Their family resides in Saigon, where they run a popular street food tour business, http://www.saigonstreeteats.com.   Barbara is well traveled and planned a vacation to France for her family.  But try as they might, France would not grant her husband a visa, believing that he presented a risk of staying in Europe to gain a “better” life.  Read her story here: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/1451562

Or meet Mina Mahrous, a 20-something Egyptian male studying to become a pharmacist.  Mina is highly interested in seeing the world…and has been consistently turned down for visas and held to higher standards to secure visas.  He wrote an excellent blog on access to travel: http://www.somedayillbethere.com/2012/04/no-not-everyone-can-travel-a-bubble-burster/

I understand that countries need safe guards – this is not a post on the politics of immigration.  Simply, it’s recognition for yet another liberty that I have that others do not and consciousness raising for my small family that global access is currently not a freedom that everyone shares.

2 thoughts on “Taking Travel for Granted

  1. Very true, and I thought about this many times when we were traveling. We were lucky to travel on American passports on our RTW journey. We were able to get visas or, more usually, visa-free entry to everywhere we wanted (except Russia, which had some particular requirements involving applying for a visa only from your home country within three months of travel, so we had to nix it from our plans).

    Also, if you are a fluent English speaker, you have a HUGE advantage overseas. We found, with very few exceptions, that we could almost always find someone who spoke English who could help us or answer questions. Signs, tours, brochures, guidebooks, even online resources to assist with travel are in English. Travel would be a lot more difficult for a non-English speaker in many parts of the world.

    • Excellent point on the English, Jenn. We’re trying to learn the basics (greetings, key customary sayings) for each country we’re visiting. Easier said then done. Thank you, youtube language videos! Nevertheless, I feel grateful and humbled to be able to do this trip.

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