On the eve of my citizenship ceremony, I have a lot on my mind. It’s my final day as Maria Ines Bellina Garcia Rosell, for I will be shortening my legal name to Ines Bellina. There are a lot of civic duties I want to uphold, like voting and volunteering. The fact that I won’t have to deal with immigration restrictions ever again is thrilling. There also some other superficial matters to consider. Mainly, that I will now be carrying two passports and that, my friends, gives me an insane amount of mobility throughout the world.
I make a lot of jokes about my “sketchy” Peruvian passport because, for most of my life, it barely let you get anywhere that wasn’t a bordering country. Xenophobia, post-colonialism, legit concerns, et al. meant that my fellow compatriotas were not really wanted in other areas of the world or, at best, were looked upon with suspicion. I got a serious reprieve from this by having a diplomatic passport, which allowed me to travel in countries visa-free though that other Peruvians were not allowed to enter unless they had the right paperwork. Read: most of Europe. When I had to give up my fancy passport, I basically decided to boycott any destination that asked me for a visa. It felt demeaning and I really did not want to play into the world’s unequal structural powers. At first, it felt like I was punishing myself. In fact, it ended up being extremely rewarding. It forced me to pay attention to those vast regions that are often overlooked and I’m so glad I did. Now, they’re my favorite places to roam.
However, I’m not about to scoff at the immense power comes with two passports. Here is the list of all the countries I can vagabond through, at will, and with little more than a return ticket and a backpack.