The Journey of a Refugee

By Fin Sheridan

I recently went to LA. It was an 11 hour flight, each way, with a coach ride to the airport and an Uber from the airport to our AirBnB. That’s a fair bit of travelling. I flew economy class, with a reasonably good airline – the on-flight film selection was great and the refreshments were about as good as plane food gets! For a 10000 mile round trip, you don’t get much better (without a private jet).

Two billion miles.

That’s how many miles thousands of migrants travelled in 2015.

According to Channel 4, “migrants who applied for asylum in Europe in 2015 have collectively travelled more than two billion miles; a conservative estimate based on the shortest over land routes to European countries from their countries of origin. These 727,085 people travelled an average of 2,750 miles each.”

“Whilst there are a lot of things we can’t do to solve this vast complex crisis, one of the things we can do is shift our perspective.”

Most of these journeys were in boats and on foot. Not a lovely P&O ferry but a flimsy dinghy. Crammed with dozens of other scared families, captained by someone with little to no nautical experience. No food, no in-travel entertainment, no safety procedures and very little hope of survival. Imagine the discomfort. Imagine the fear.

Think about the last journey you took. Did you tut when you had to wait in line for 10 minutes? Was it annoying that it took a little extra time for people to start disembarking from the plane? How cross did you get with the traffic leaving the airport?

It’s International Refugee Week. Whilst there are a lot of things we can’t do to solve this vast complex crisis, one of the things we can do is shift our perspective. Have a little gratitude. Be patient with those around us. The reality is, that our travel gripes are tiny, compared to those who seek refuge every single day.

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 in Culture, Read

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