Forced to travel

20th June was celebrated as the World Refugee Day. I read somewhere that 2015 was the year of refugees. More than 65 million people displaced from their homes as per UN reports. Out of which 10 million were absolutely stateless – no countries, no passports! If all these displaced people were put together into 1 nation, they would constitute the 21st largest nation by population in the world (as much as the UK).

While I can indulge to my heart’s content in recreational travelling, I wonder how this might look to people who have been forced to travel. Be it war refugees thrown out of their homes by mindless wars or economic refugees who have no choice but to seek a fortune in distant lands.

All reluctant travellers – seeking safety, not fun. Trying to keep close to familiar things, not seeking the thrill of the unknown. Receiving no red carpet welcome from the host country, as the tourists do. Battling the elements of nature – its harsh winters, its stormy seas and more frighteningly, its violent humans. Feeling no sense of happiness at reaching their destination – only a fear of being unwanted, despised. They carry no cameras – the world media is at their beck and call. They need no “light packing tips” – they have nothing to carry. They grab “all-inclusive deals” – from unscrupulous traffickers who collect all monies upfront to cover transport and exit/entry fees. They desire a normal, boring, everyday life – not a break from it. On the move from Syria to Greece, from Myanmar to Thailand, from Columbia to Ecuador, from Somalia to Kenya. The real new-age explorers are here to stay!

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