Across Borders

 

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Being asked what my biggest wish or dream was, I would always answer: I want to travel lots and lots and lots; I would like to see this and that country, etc… Then, being asked- up to my late teenage years- about the countries I have been to, I would simply say: None!! I have never left Morocco, nor have I been on board of a plane or seen one from close. Very weird as it is for some, my fellow Moroccans would understand it very well.

When I was 19, I was taking part of a cultural exchange program in Georgetown University in the United States, and was very happy at the thought that I finally was going to board on a plane and see those places the details of which I had already built in my own imagination. I even remember telling a friend who had already studied in the US that I was planning to write about my very first time on a plane. I also can remember that she was somewhat not easy about that and said: But you know, Fadoua. They- meaning Americans, since I was going to the States- travel a lot, and being on a plane is nothing unusual for them.

I think what my friend was trying to tell me is to spare myself the embarrassment of stating the fact that I was 19 when I first got on board of a plane.  I, on the other hand, wasn’t the least embarrassed. It WAS my reality and I was happy I was having that long waited chance. Then, followed my Egyptian trip after which everything seemed to stop. I didn’t leave Morocco for the following three or four years, as the chances of visiting Europe were very slim for many reasons, including one unsuccessful visa application to Spain, the denial of which was that the money I had was not enough to fund my trip.

Then, I picked my Europe call at last, or maybe Europe did pick mine, and I went for a study program in Poland. I got to travel and see for myself so many of the places I always wanted to be. My Christmas holiday went like crazy; it was MY European trip and I was living it my way, with people I cherish. I went all the way to Switzerland, Turkey, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Italy, then back to Warsaw, waiting for my upcoming trips to Ukraine, Austria and maybe Czech and Spain. These have been crazy months, very lively, very satisfying and energizing.

I just cannot find any existing words that can describe it; it was deep, it was deep; it was deep.

Being in a train crossing the French-Italian borders, the Dutch-Belgian borders or the Belgian-French borders with no checks, no scanning looks, no words, nothing at all… It was but a smooth journey, with plenty of tea, music, deep-hearted enjoyment and a very much enjoyed slowness. But at the same line, I- as always- had questions generating, rising and disturbing my finally retrieved peace of mind. I again had thoughts about all those lines by foreign consulates across my county, about the looks of disappointment on the faces of the denied visa persons. 

 Why should there be a circle enclosing some people, limiting their freedom, breaking their most peaceful dreams? Why should we line along the sides of consulates with millions of forms and papers in hands and receipts of the already paid insurance, visa fees, plane tickets and hotel reservations then still being denied the visa? Visa! What a lame word!

I was saddened by this reality and also by the thought that that was also the case with some other Arab countries, like having to apply for Visa for Egypt and all that entails. It hurt but I could do nothing about it, so I just decided to silence all those questions and enjoy my very long looked for trip.

 

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