Around the world there many nationalities and things like traveling will be easier or harder depending which one you have. I got a macedonian passport and I can say is not one of the best way to start a long overland journey. Passports from small countries like mine will make you to apply for visa for almost every country you want to visit, which means spending time in big cities, slow burocracy, a lot money to invest and the possibility of be rejected.
Beside the difficulties of traveling with Macedonian Passport we could say my case is a bit special. With no properties in my name, no formal job and no savings in bank accounts my probability of getting visa for countries like Canada, USA or Australia are very small. My alternative lifestyle as craft maker, constant traveler, blogger and street vendor is not always the best presentation when I had to deal with certains embassies. But I wanted to see the world so I had to try it.
From all of the funny and stressful situations that I had to experience to try to get a visa I specially remember three embassies that make it really hard, surprisingly with countries I wasn´t expected.
VISA SOUTH AFRICA
I had to visit daily during 3 weeks the embassy from South Africa in New York City, one of the most expensive cities in the world, to beg for an exception with me because by law they couldn’t grant visas to non american residents. They told me I must go back home in Macedonia and apply in the South African embassy that correspond to me over there. But i was sure it must be a way. I asked for a latter to the Macedonian ambassador to prove that i am macedonian involve in a travel project which misión is to complete a journey by motorcycle around the world, and that we wanted South Africa to be our starting point to travel around Africa. Then I prepare documents to explain my travel project, presenting my sponsors, the route I will follow in South Africa, proving that I already sent the motorbike to Johannesburg and that I got flight tickets for me and my husband. And during all this days I was talking and talking to them, sometimes crying for their lack of empathy, explaining that my dream was to visit all the continents with my bike. Finally after 3 weeks I got a visa. But I am not sure if was because all my documents or just because I was very heavy?
This country is very close to the world, with an authoritarian regime and ruled by sharia, the Islamic law. Is not at all one of the first tourist destination, even when its people is very friendly and the story of this land in middle os Sahara is amazing only few travelers think to visit Sudan, and when that happen the first think their ambassadors will think when you try to ask for a visa is that you could be an spy. Then they ask for a warranty letter from our own embassy proving we are clean people, just travelers. But Macedonia closer embassy was in Cairo, not close to Ethiopia where we were at the moment. The solution was to ask the Spanish embassy if they “could “ write this letter. They didn´t have to do it but because my spanish husband was traveling with me they agree to write the letter, not exactly the one I need but at the ends it works, of course we have to find the way to become friends with the officers in the embassy.
Once we arrived in Baku we decide to apply over there for all the visas we will need to cross the countries from Central Asia. For Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan was no problem but in the last moment Kazajistan rejected my application. Was everything good, Manu got all the visas and we already book the boat to cross the Caspian sea. What now?. We got with a very lazy ambassador who didn´t want t receive us and almays make excuses to say he wasn´t at the office. We almost give up and we started to look for plan B which was to fly myself to Uzbekistan and wait there while Manu cross the KizimKum desert with the motorbike. But again I said No way. I hate this kind of people who dont care for nothing, my travel depend of one guy signing a paper and I decide to insist and try to talk to the ambassador and explained all the situation. After 4 days going every day in the embassy from 8 am to 4 pm and trying to get to meet the ambassador while the secretary was telling every day come tomorrow, he is not here, come at 2 pm and many other excuses. I was there day after day insisting to meet him until finally he agree to receive me in his office. After short and kind conversation he give me visa, just 4 days for transit but enough to cross the desert until the border with Uzbekistan, the important is that Manu and I we could keep traveling together.
The embassy Is just institution where some people is working there, don’t need to be afraid of their attitude, sometime quite prepotent, or if your passport belong to a small or poor country. Try to get the visa and If they say no insist a bit more, talk honestly and try to make them fell the energy of your travel dreams.
Everything is posible specially if you speak to the right person, ask directly for the person in charge, and insist until you get it because only this person will probably understand your travel story, and if nothing work maybe you can find out some tricks.
I just know that I have visited and explored almost 100 different countries and until now and no one close me their doors.