I’m writing this while sitting in a cafe somewhere in the middle of Casablanca, Morocco at the end of my month long trip to Portugal, Spain and Morocco.

I had always been told by non-Canadians how great it is to hold a Canadian passport, but I rarely get into any certain details beyond that.

In this trip, I met a Chinese national also traveling in the small blue town of Chefchaouen in Morocco. We decided to hike outside the city to their famous waterfalls together. I learned she had studied international business at a university in Chengdu, is currently working in Ghana and took to travel any chance she could get. But because of her Chinese passport, she is very limited on where she can go without a visa. And for many places such as Canada or Europe, she is required to submit detailed financial information and fit a certain criteria before she can get a simple travel visa. I remembered the times I traveled to Turkey and Cambodia where a visa was needed, but as a Canadian, I was able to simply purchase one at the airport when I landed.

So we decided during dinner to look up online the list of countries we are each able to travel to visa free and compare. Her list was depressing and made worse by her frustrated statement of “I just want to go to a developed country”. That list also had much more gravitas to me being a first generation Chinese Canadian, it could have very likely been me if the chips had fell slightly differently for my parents.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that traveling is part of who I am. I have been lucky enough to travel to over 30 countries. I proudly tell all of those who ask that I am Canadian and you can see and feel the respect that those three words give you anywhere in the world. Happy birthday Canada!

Kirby M – Coril Holdings Ltd.

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