I have arranged a friend of mine, Sanem, to come stay with us for three months. She is reliable, or rather I find her reliable, let's hope she is, so I can leave Lara to her while I travel around for my mission. As I have bought Sanem's return ticket, now it was time to think about where I should go. I've been thinking about Africa but that takes planning a bit in advance. Plus, okay, I think Sanem is reliable, but we should test it first, let's see how things go in the house with me away and another woman around. I should be going away for a short while before going for longer periods.
Where do I go? I was looking at Bhutan. Carlo even helped me find out agencies; but when I set out to arrange it he asked “Can't you postpone Bhutan for two years? We go together.”
So where do I go? The Stans are countries I should be going one after another. Across the ocean is out of the question. So there remains close places. Three of the easy places Lichtenstein, Montenegro and Cyprus are out as we might be going there together as well. There remains Andorra. Andorra it is then.
Check the flights. Mid-March should be fine. Two weeks of acclimatization for Sanem. I go 15th to 17th of March for example. Wednesday to Friday. Enter data to Jetcost. Can I make it to the 7 o'clock flight in the morning, what time should we get up in order to get to the airport around 6, are there even trains running at that time, is it worth getting up so early, okay, I take the afternoon flight then. There are buses from Barcelona to Andorra, takes three hours, check the schedule. I'll be at my hotel late at night. Ok. No problem. I stay the whole day the next day and get back to Barcelona Airport, El Prat the following day in the morning to catch the evening flight making it back home by midnight. Fine.
On second thought... This won't be like Romania where I flew for so cheap, stayed cheap and spent about a hundred Euros in total. Andorra will be costing me. Okay, not so dear, but still...
Is it worth spending 500 Euros to step on a piece of land?
Well, it is a country. And I have a mission.
Still... Is it worth spending 500 Euros to step on a piece of land? Just because it is a country? I have spent generously and luxuriously for the round-the-world trip last year and for the Amazon and Caribbean this year. Now we don't have that much money left. What's more, Lara will be starting school this year. It will be costing us. Let me do a bit of calculation: If I say a 1000 USD per country on average, it will be 75,000 USD. We don't have that kind of money. I need a sponsor. I need to find money.
Is it worth doing this? Why would I be spending so much money to go to a tiny spot of land that I didn't care to go when I have been to Barcelona in the past? Why should I be spending my time away from my precious daughter when she is growing up so fast and these days will not come back? And more importantly... For a project that nobody cares about!
When I question the logicality of the project to Carlo, he says “You can burn your passports now, you don't need to go to all the countries.”
“Nobody would take me seriously then.”
Still, considering his suggestion... “If I burn them now, I have to get other people to burn passports as well. I have to get a crowd. Who would burn their passports with me? Are you going to burn yours?”
“What if you want to travel afterwards?” Carlo asks instead of answering my question about himself.
“I get a new passport.”
“Are they going to give you another one after burning your passports with a declaration you are against them?”
Eyebrows raised, lips pursed... “I don't know,” I say. “I pay a fine and maybe there is jail time too. I forgot now.”
“You launch yourself full force on a wall and then ask 'where is my helmet?'”
“No, I didn't do that,” I object. “I wasn't planning to burn valid passports, if I burn now, I have to burn valid ones. These are ten year passports. The Turkish expires in 2021, the Italian in 2025.”
“Find out seriously about it.”
“Okay, you check the Italian legislation because I have to burn my Italian passports too. As I have travelled with them.” Then my mind wanders back to Carlo's case. “You don't even have a Turkish citizenship,” I say. “You get it and burn your Italian passport.”
“No, I burn my Turkish passport.”
“Yeah, that makes more sense I suppose,” I say and go back to my own dilemma. “What do I do Carlo?”
“You can still set the date as you planned...”
“Ah good!” I jump in at the suggestion. “I say I'll be burning my passports on my 50th birthday however as many countries as I have been. Meanwhile, I campaign to gather people.”
“You may quit the project and just campaign to get people.”
“If you are going to be planning and travelling all the time you won't have time for campaigning.”
“What am I going to campaign anyway? Just write a couple of tweets.”
“Don't be so pessimistic...”
“What has it got to do with pessimism? What else do I do to campaign?”
True, I do not see much light at the end of the tunnel in the political atmosphere. Most people prefer to hang unto the status-quo. Only those who have nothing to lose and who are suffering because of the status quo would opt for change. Or idealists, those like me, who believe in justice even if it could cost them their privileges. Of course, I have suffered the injustice myself, felt it on my skin, even though at a very very low level compared to what migrants/refugees are facing today. That's where my sensitivity comes from.
“Who would burn their passports with me?” I ask and aim the question he has ducked back at him seriously. “Are you going to burn yours?”
“Somebody has to stay away from jail and look after this family.”
He is right, what can I say?
I don't know where I am going with this project, this mission that I've started. It's not that I'm going to give up. It's too late for that. Still... It's a drag.
“Shall I choose a different date?”
“It's too personal. People will not identify.”
“You mean you want to choose a special day?”
“I don't know... Peace Day or World Refugee day or something.”
“Leave it the way you planned.”
“Yeah, it stays for posterity.”
I have to take myself seriously and make fun of myself at the same time. I'm alone on this. I've been writing and trying to let people know for such a long time. Nobody apart from a dozen people signed up my manifesto "Strike at the Root" and nobody, not even one of my friends, wanted to support me and be a part at least by asking for a postcard. As I have neither material nor moral support, I need to keep my spirits up by making as if this project will one day turn out to be something significant.
Agony and Ivory...