14 borders, 14 countries & 14 days.

We’ve made it to Athens, the end point of a mammoth journey across Europe having crossed thousands of miles and 14 countries.

Each border has had a real poignancy for me.

There we are, with our British passports, sitting in the comfort of our cars, listening to music, happy and relaxed passing from country to country.

The worst we had was a few brief checks of our bags, one strip search (the boys at the Serbia border), and some disapproving comments about our colourful car…

But in Serbia we met our friend Samir, living In a refugee cam
p with his wife and baby. For him these same borders mean walking for days, sleeping outside, hiding in woods, smugglers, robbers, beatings from locals, nights in a cell, potential deportation to Afghanistan and possibly worse.

I spoke to him today, hoping we could meet back up with him in Athens as that too was where he was heading. Unfortunately he hadn’t made it and is still in Serbia. He had to turn back as it was too dangerous.
It’s so fucked up that his journey can be so different to ours. We didn’t do anything to deserve this privilege, we were just born.

But he fled a war.

He has already heroically risked his life over and over and he’s still forced to take more risks just to be safe.
It’s so unfair that I find it hard to even swallow as I write this. It makes me all hot and bothered and sad and guilty even.

I wish there was something more I could do for Samir and his wife and baby Mustafa and all the other people in his position, facing these borders. But if there’s one thing that I know I can do, it’s keep talking about it, writing about it, learning and understanding and listening and reading and raising awareness and spreading these stories. So that’s what I’ll do.