I think I have always considered myself to be a global citizen. My passport says I’m Swedish. But that doesn’t really mean anything to me. I’m only Swedish by accident of birth. And there are only two times that I truly feel Swedish. When the Swedish national team plays football and at Midsummer. We, meaning Swedes, are not that good at football but we are exceptionally good at celebrating the longest day. Not surprising when the sun pretty much ignores us for a large part of the year.
I left Sweden almost nine months ago and have not missed anything back home. Other than friends and family. During this period, I have been able to enjoy Italian and Spanish hospitality without having to let anyone know that I am here. Granted, I had some issues with getting vaccinated, but I have truly enjoyed the freedom of movement offered through my European citizenship. Freedom of movement for people and goods. In fact, Saoirse and I can stay as long as we want. Without anyone saying that we have overstayed our welcome or any requirements to import any of us. I am so happy that my two sons will get to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to broaden their minds now that they are young adults.
I know that most of the cruising community shares my enthusiasm for ease of travel and limited red tape. And I feel sorry for all the British cruisers that I meet as they are now subject to all sorts of restrictions. But every now and then you run into the odd Brexit voting cruiser that gets upset when they overstay their welcome in Europe and have to leave. In fact, I met one the other day that called it ‘the European issue’ (I quickly corrected him by calling it the ‘British issue’). People that feel that the EU is treating them badly for leaving, by making them subject to the same rules that apply to every other non-European citizen. People that are happy to come over for a drink on your boat but would never invite you to theirs? I realise that there is no such thing as a global citizenship, so I will have to settle for a European one.
As I am getting ready to leave ‘home’ and cross the Atlantic, I hope that the world outside is ready to accept me and Saoirse as guests. In return, I promise not to whinge about any discomforts or perceived inadequacies. I will merely enjoy the cultural difference. And leave the football jerseys and the culinary/cultural/historical lectures behind.