I love working in the tourism/hospitality industry. I see new people everyday, hear constantly varying accents, listen to interesting stories and learn about new places to visit. Some days make me want to attach a hip flask to my belt, at least there is a balance.
I need that kind of diversity to keep me stimulated at work. It hasn’t been enough to keep me in my job as I will be travelling to Sydney soon, I don’t think any job would prevent me from travelling but this one has kept me in one place since 2013. It is the many nationalities I see daily that probably triggered my move, a constant reminder that there is a world out there that I choose not to see every time I do not hand in my leaving notice. I was born in one corner of the world, many people stay there. I have colleagues that are confused as to why I could leave a job to do something as ‘unimportant’ as travel. I couldn’t disagree more. Employment is important and money is obviously a main fuel for the ability to travel, however work isn’t always a sacrifice needing to be made. I will work in Australia to fund my adventures, why work where I have always lived when there may be an employer out there willing to hire me on the other side of the world? From experience in working abroad in the past, a job can be so much more enjoyable in a new environment. New people, new climates, new food, all much needed stimulants in my life. It is like a life hack I have always sought. That being said, I will miss my job and the stories along the way. Some stick with me and I often find myself questioning life along the way. The story I am about to tell is no exception to this and as always, I would love to hear your opinion on this, regardless of what side of the fence you stand.
So two days ago I met a very attractive female, I am guessing in her 40’s. She was very friendly and in my circle so it was inevitable that I would converse with her at some point. Her accent did not match the passport she had on the desk next to her, she left it out whilst arranging her handbag. She got out of a taxi not too long before this moment, so I am assuming she only just arrived from the airport. The passport was British, I thought it would be a good ice breaker to ask the question.
‘So where are you originally from?’ I finally asked out of curiosity.
‘I am Brazilian, Sao Paulo.’ She responded with a smile. The question, thankfully, was welcomed.
‘Ah okay, so where do you live now?’ Wondering where in Britain someone from the land of golden beaches and palm trees would plan to settle.
‘Scotland’ She chuckled. ‘It is a long story’.
Of course, ‘a long ‘story’ is often seen as an invitation to ask more, or at least makes us want to. What I didn’t ask is whether or not she did indeed arrive from the airport. Anywhere in Scotland to Newcastle (the most northern city in England before the Scottish border) would be a very short flight indeed. Car or train are the usual and most practical choices.
‘So what made you move to Scotland?’ I asked.
She then looked at her British passport and tapped it twice before glancing up at me with that smile that didn’t really go away. This really happened! I chuckled and accepted her answer. I don’t know if this was the most appropriate question to ask, however I felt she said the bar quite high with her last action.
‘May I ask, are you still married to this person?’ Spoken a little softer as it isn’t really a conversation you want others to listen in on.
‘Of course not! But he is one of my best friends now‘ Was the answer, which gave me the impression that he was as in on this as she was. She didn’t seem to be bothered by my curiosity, probably because I didn’t really show any signs of shock or offence. I felt like I was talking to a Bond girl, you know when Bond is at a bar and the girl, in a very relaxed and composed manner, speaks openly in a way many others would feel uncomfortable doing? Thankfully, the topic was marrying for a passport, not the way she plans to see me die as I tell her how pretty she was.
Since then I have questioned whether or not this is acceptable. Not that I feel marriage is something that people should feign, but we are all victims of circumstance. I didn’t do anything to be awarded a British Passport, other than be born here. Thankfully, I have enjoyed the benefits of living here and the freedoms a British passport provides, currently ranked 3rd in terms of its power on Passport Index which is an interesting site to view if you want to view how many countries you can enter visa-free.
I have visited Brazil and Sao Paulo and loved it. It would be illogical however to compare travelling for one month to living in a nation and I would be lying to suggest this incredible nation was without problems. All nations have problems. As much as I love looking back at my photos I know there are people in them that would move to a more prosperous place if they could. I have friends that have a great life and live in SP. I also know a couple that live in Edinburgh, he is from Brazil and they married for love and are still together in the UK.
But the question still goes through my head. If someone is to contribute positively to another nations society, working hard and finding love once here, is marrying to get here as much of a free pass as say, having a winning lottery ticket? We don’t often show hate to people that have won the lottery, despite the lack of work that went into achieving a life of luxury other than handing a £1 coin to the cashier in exchange for a ticket. There is actually less work ethic shown here than marrying for a passport, and agreeing to marry someone for a passport is probably more moral than pretending to love someone that is purely being used for a passport, as weird as it sounds to say that. I am sure that it is the deceit that is frowned upon in this case, there is honesty in a winning lottery ticket, incredible odds in replace of skill. This is known by all and is an accepted way to become wealthy beyond belief.
What would I do if I was living in conditions that I hated, knowing the ways in which I could free myself from them and into a life I enjoyed with more freedom? I do not know but I know people do, and I now know someone that has.
Featured Photo by STIL on Unsplash