The Iconic Red British Passport and What it Means

“We work and struggle our whole lives, for every single thing you are born with.”

My favourite type of people, are ones I can sit and chill with, and just talk about life. Anything to everything, and everything in between. With people who have ideas and questions about any topic; people with open minds who are interested in discussing different and unusual or every day, mundane things. They don’t judge your opinions, but listen and take them on board, understanding that your thoughts are just as valid as theirs.

This evening, I sat for 3 hours by the pool with my dear friend, having one of these much loved, deep conversations.

“We work and struggle our whole lives, for every single thing you are born with” WOW. He said this and carried on talking, but I actually zoned out and found myself not listening to him for the next minute or two, because my brain was too busy trying to process that statement.

It wasn’t that I didn’t understand what he meant, but I was hit with the realisation of how true it was, and in that moment, everything which our famous red passport stands for, came rushing to me at once, and I’ve never felt luckier than to have been born where I was, the UK.

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I’m English, (and I am not saying it is only our nation), but I never realised just how FREE we really are by being British; free, coming from the word freedom. We have the freedom of speech, we have the freedom to choose our lifestyle, our career, our marriage partner, our religion, where we want to live and with who, how we want to dress, how we want to behave and how far we want to take our education. There is nothing to stop us being exactly the person we want to be, and doing what we want to do, and I can honestly say, I took all of this for granted until I moved abroad and worked with different people from very different places.

Of course, everyone is aware of the poverty, disease, and the huge number of children without education, but life is still extremely hard for people to live and make a living, even in more developed countries.

It was only when I lived outside of the England did I start to realise just how many, and why so many foreigners want to move to my home country. Not only did I take so many things for granted, but I am now starting to learn and understand just how hard and difficult it is being born in other countries and growing up with in different cultures that include, sometimes for me, incomprehensible mentalities. What is normal for me is, extra ordinary for others, and what is normal for others is sometimes way beyond my understanding.

The iconic red passport represents literal freedom; the freedom to travel, with great ease, to almost anywhere in the world. Sometimes we need visas, but they are usually obtainable very easily and quickly. I had no idea that people couldn’t just go wherever they fancied for a week’s vacation. It wasn’t until I invited some friends from Nepal over to England for a week that they told me that until they had nationality in Europe and then an official invitation from my family did I learn they can’t just jump on Ryanair and pop over like I can. It’s not just Nepal and India, I’ve met and work with people from Russia and Ukraine as well, and they are also in the same position. They are unable to travel for a day to Spain, a bordering country from where we are now in Portugal, without them having residency. But the one that gets me the most, is that some of my Nepali friends can’t even go to their own home country to see their families, because they won’t be able to get back to Europe because they are ‘illegal’ without documents.

Imagine having to leave your wife and children, for long amounts of time (sometimes up to 10 years), to travel different continents, working any job going, doing horrific hours, if it means earning some money to send back home; living in small, grotty places to save your pennies, working 2 jobs and double shifts, just to pay for your family to live, while you are not there to enjoy with them.

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How is it fair, and why is it acceptable and that some of us can travel and holiday wherever we choose, and others cannot even return home to see their families? What makes it okay for some of us to have this freedom, but not others? We are all human beings, we are all equal and we should all be entitled to the same rights and liberties. It saddens me that some of the most genuine, hard working, wonderful people I know are denied the freedom to travel around this planet – which we all share and no one owns! Who makes these decisions and on what are the arguments based on?

And this is just the travel side of things. Being British means you have access to education, health care, clean water, food and shelter, just to mention a few things, while others are suffering daily. See here the Top 9 things I’ve learnt to be grateful for, just from being British.

Just last week, the USA made history by saying Yes to Gay Marriage, as it became legal. This was a huge step forward, and was notion was fully supported by millions of people, who felt strongly about the subject. But there are still so many things that are unfair and unjust; I hope we see in the very near future, people get behind more equality campaigns.

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