As I’ve been filling out the immigration forms for Judy and a rather sticky question came up that I needed to do a significant amount of research into.
For most people this question would have been rather easy, but for a traveller like me it was a nightmare question.
It read “Please list all of the countries you’ve travelled to in the last 10 years. Including visa numbers, dates into/from each country and purpose of your visit.”
On face value, I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself… how hard can it be?
Just write down the countries you’ve been to!?
However, as I began to sift through my passport pages it soon became evident that I would need at least one full letter sized page.
Clearly, the devil is in the details for a task like this…
Let’s just take one trip as an example.
In the summer of 2017, Zach and I Eurailed and backpacked for 16 days starting in Berlin (no discernible visa number), how many days did we stay in Berlin before we trained to Prague in the Czech Republic? There is no visa number when you cross the frontier between European countries for the most part, as not all of them have a border checkpoint.
Okay, from there we went to Prague, before continuing onto Vienna in Austria – was it two or three days we spent there???
From Vienna we then went to Bratislava in Slovakia, before taking the high-speed train (320 kph) to Budapest in Hungary. Upon our return journey to Berlin, we went via Salzburg in the Austrian alps, Munich (Zach favourite soccer team is Bayern Munich), then onto Nuremberg, Leipzig before returning to Berlin.
It was an epic journey, travelling old school (train), backpacking, and staying in Airbnb.
A fabulous experience for us both and awesome shared memories! Particularly the Europa Cup match between Red Star Belgrade and Sparta Prague with us being caught between the two teams’ supporters and the riot police in the main square of Prague and they chanted and fought for supremacy.
A slice of life… indeed!
However, that was just one of fifty or more trips that I’ve taken over the past ten-year period. ❤️ 🙌🏼 ✈️
Most years I would, at a minimum travel to Italy at least one per year, then two or three more trips to Europe on my four-day flips. Then with the Zach and Sam at least another two trips overseas.
So, you can see my quandary…
In 2017 I took off the entire summer, yep, all three months of it so I could travel with Zach and Sam in varying ways. Such incredible memories! ❤️
My first trip of that summer started with Sam representing Canada at an U18 international soccer tournament in Israel. I spent two weeks staying in Tel Aviv and commuting to and from her games. On my days off from being a spectator I travelled around Israel – Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, into the West Bank.
As another day trip I also flew to Jordan and visited the ancient city of Petra.
It was a fascinating experience crossing no-man’s land between Israel and Jordan. I had to transverse a 400-meter corridor of barbed wire, between the two countries overlooked by watch towers on both sides.
Trust me, Petra was well worth the tension of crossing the frontier between these two countries just to experience.
Upon my return from Israel, I spent one night in Toronto before jetting out to Milan and spending two weeks in Italy. A week on Lake Como (my favourite place on earth) and a week exploring Tuscany. I like travelling alone and am super comfortable with my own company.
Next up was my trip with Zach which I outlined above.
To start 2017, I spent two weeks in Italy over the December, January break, with my time mostly spent exploring Rome, Naples, and Amalfi Coast. Loved climbing Mount Vesuvius that overlooks the Bay of Naples on a clear, crisp day and time exploring the ancient city of Pompeii at its feet.
To close out the year I spent two weeks with Sam exploring Hong Kong and China. On our visit to Shanghai, we spent most of our time exploring the Bund (where we stayed), Pudong, the old French Concession and the provinces surrounding this futuristic mega city.
Wow, now that I step back and consider all of my travels in just that one year it seems as though I could be a spy. 🤨 😆
Clearly, I’m not, but if feels a little fishy that I travelled so much to some unusual countries is all I’m saying. Hopefully, not misconstrued by Immigration as they review the forms.
The challenge remains is to comb through all my visa stamps and try and detail all of these trips. 🙌🏼
If I were to miss a trip or not remember all of the places it isn’t the end of the world in the grand scheme of things, but it would definitely trigger some question by Australian Immigration.
They are forensic in their approach to anyone wanting to come live in Australia and so will definitely be checking the facts and following up if I’ve got it wrong.
Personally, I’m unclear as to why, but unfortunately, I don’t make up the rules…
I suppose that’s part of their approach, as it makes everyone do their homework and be specific in their responses.
From personal experience they are unrelenting and inflexible by their very nature so I have no alternative than to “follow the breadcrumb trail” and document my trips as best I can.
Until next week