Posted on August 28, 2015
I’m writing these lines because I am very sad and I wish that there will be a day when no more people die because of their wish to live a better life.
I’m writing these lines because I’m a traveller and a digital nomad who after traveling and living in all kinds of regions of this world feels responsibility to think and talk about this topic.
I woke up to terrible news this morning. 59 men, 8 women and 4 children have been found dead in a tractor-trailer in eastern Austria, very close to Slovakia. They were refugees.
I’m used to hearing tragic stories but this time I couldn’t stop thinking about this sad news and the main reason is that 5 days ago I saw around 300 immigrants “camping” at Keleti Train station in Budapest. My presence at this station was a complete coincidence and something that I haven’t planned more than 1 day prior to that.
The reason why I happened to be in Budapest was the following: One week ago I was on a hiking trip Kyrgyzstan. And there was something extraordinary that happened to me at the end of the trip. I missed the plane. For the first time in my life! I was angry, I laughed and I bought a new ticket for 400 EUR. I knew that everything happens for a reason.
When I bought this new flight ticket to come back to Slovakia, the cheapest and closest flight was to Budapest in Hungary. From there I had to take a train to Bratislava. When I walked out of the metro at Keleti train station I saw people sitting on the ground and queuing for food. My first reaction was: “Is this some kind of festival”? Sadly it was not a festival or any type of entertainment event.
When you see something with your eyes it stays in your soul.
I had to buy a train ticket and I wanted to leave that train station as soon as possible. I was tired after the long journey from Kyrgyzstan and it was very sad to witness people who had very different reasons to leave their homes and “travel.”
There was a line of 144 people waiting for the train tickets so I would have to be waiting for at least 2 hours. Luckily I started talking to three Turkish backpackers who were the next ones to buy tickets and they suggested that I could buy the ticket with them.
I made it on time on the train and I found a free seat next to a Russian businessman. We were both surprised about the long queues for tickets and we assumed that it had to do something with the immigrants. But there were no immigrants on the train. I asked him “Do you think that Budapest is their final destination?” He replied: “Their destination is better life.”
Many thoughts came to my mind today. We all want to live a better life, no? When it comes to traveling and having job opportunities it’s so dependent on where you were born or what type of passport you hold. There is a big discussion in Slovakia these days whether to accept immigrants or not. Also, people in Slovakia complain a lot about many social and economic challenges in our country. On the other hand (if we want) we can easily work anywhere in the European Union and many take this opportunity and work in more rich european countries where they can have much higher salaries and social benefits. There are certain destinations that are popular for all of us.
I am asking: “What does Destination: Better life mean for immigrants and how does the journey to get there look like? Do they get there at all?”
71 people didn’t make it this week.
I don’t know the answer to my question and I don’t want to be too philosophical. I like to have my feet on the ground… and when I travel I like to meet people and talk to them. I regret that I haven’t talked to the people sitting at Keleti station and I haven’t asked them about how they were doing.
My final question is: “How can I personally help in this situation?”
I appreciate your comments or thoughts about this topic.
Peace and safe travels.