A Letter to the British Travel Community – Why I will vote Remain in the upcoming Referendum

A Letter to the British Travel Community – Why I will vote against the Brexit

The British travel blogging community has been strangely quiet on the topic of the Brexit. I assume it simply isn’t the done thing to get involved in political affairs. My boyfriend even warned me that I risk making some enemies by publishing this online. And that I might see the numbers of my readers drop significantly. Until last night I wasn’t sure if I should get involved. I asked myself should I really voice my opinion publically. Wouldn’t it be easier to just keep quiet, give in, stay paralyzed by fear. Pretend that all of this simply isn’t happening. It might be easier, more diplomatic even. But it certainly wouldn’t be the right thing to do. At least not for me. In fact I would be doing myself – as well the UK and Europe – a great disservice. I have created this amazing platform, so I might as well use it.

Please trust me when I say, I mean to offend no-one. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. And this, quite simply, is mine. Read it, agree with me or disagree. I just think that it’s important that we had an actual discussion on the matter at hand. Because one way or another, this referendum is going to drastically affect our lives and future. It will affect us in a way that nothing else has done for a long time.

Over the last few years I have watched our world grow increasingly unstable. Is this part of growing up? Just the natural consequence of leaving a sheltered childhood? This weight of the world on your shoulders? I’m worried for my future, for all of our futures. On so many accounts. The easiest thing to do is to stick my head in the sand. Ignore the facts. Ignore the world we currently live in. Concentrate on all the beautiful and wonderful things that have come my way this year. But for once in my life I refuse to do so.

I grew up in an international community. Ask me what my nationality is and I will respond, without a moment’s hesitation, that I am European. I am the result of the beautiful unification of several nationalities. My dad is British and lives in Germany. My mum is German and lives with my Scottish step-dad in France – where I was brought up and went to school. I was born in Munich, grew up in Paris and now live in London. This however does not make me unique. I am a product of my generation and there are so many of us.  If I am European, as are many of my fellows, and Europe falls apart, then what do we become? A lost generation?

I was lucky enough to receive an international upbringing. I went to an international school. The Lycee International de St-Germain-en-Laye welcomes children from twelve different nations. What a beautiful thing. It was an invaluable experience and I am now proud and happy to to say that I have friends around the globe. My education, my personal relationships and my ambition have always centred around one simple notion – that of a global community. My generation has been taught to think beyond our own borders. We were encouraged to strive for more, to work abroad, study abroad, go forth into the world and make it our own. The world is our oyster and these are values you don’t simply turn your back on. I am now watching, helpless, as that world of opportunities is quickly shrinking and might soon be buried under a mountain of bureaucratic paper.

I am nothing if not a team player. I was taught to accept others, as they are, with all their insecurities and faults. My travels around the world certainly furthered that education, reinforced a sense of tolerance and opened my mind to people’s differences .We all have our faults, but therein lays our beauty and uniqueness. We are united in our differences. That to me is the core definition of Europe and what makes it so very special and precious. There is nothing else like it in the world.

As part of a generation, that has grown up in Europe, I have learned to share my crayons. I refuse to give up an awesome friendship for the vague promise of a glitzy pen. Nothing good will come of it.

No relationship is easy. It’s always a matter of give and take. And every relationship is based on a certain amount of compromises. But in the end the question remains are we stronger together? And I truly believe that we are. UK supports Europe which in return supports the UK. Yes, the last years haven’t been easy. We have struggled. After all we live in difficult economic times. Difficult, threatening and sometimes dangerous political times. This is not the time to split and run. This is the time to bond and stand our ground. Because, we are, far stronger together than we are alone. Ask yourself, do we really want to be on our own, as a person or a nation ?

Please note the above statements are all based on my very personal perspective of life in Europe. However here are a couple of comments on the matter at hand that should be of interest to our British travel community:

  • Europe is currently Britain’s top destination – mainly for tourism, but also to study, live and work. Europe and its regulations make this hassle-free, safe and relatively cheap. Nobody knows exactly what a post-Brexit world would look like but these advantages may well take a big and damaging hit from the Brexit. 

  • The right, without permits and bureaucracy to go and work or study in Europe will be lost. Newcomers will not have the same healthcare, property, legal rights as previously.
  • Europe has made sure that UK workers get the legal right to four weeks paid holiday at least. It also makes sure we don’t lose holiday rights if we are ill. Lots of time for nice trips to Europe and elsewhere!This might be reversed, especially if after the Brexit – as feared – reduces worker protection and social rights currently guaranteed by Europe are reduced. 
  • A strong pound makes travel in Europe cheap. The worth of the Pound, however, has already fallen with the threat of the Brexit and is expected to decrease further: this will make travelling more expensive in Europe. 
  • Mobile phone costs in Europe have been reduced due to pressure from the EU. Roaming charges are already capped and will disappear completely next summer in Europe. Brexit will likely mean more expensive mobile phone use and data charges while travelling through Europe. 
  • The EU has encouraged competition between low-cost airlines, leading to about 40 % decreases in fares and almost double the number of routes in Europe. After Brexit, this Open Skies agreement will need to be at least partially renegotiated. This may mean less choice of flights, which will most likely become more expensive.
  • The travel agreements of the UK with EU and Schengen countries currently allow us to travel without the hassle and the cost of visas. If the UK leaves Europe, travelling within the continent will be considerably more complicated and expensive. 
  • EU regulations currently mean you get compulsory compensation for package holidays and flight delays. That compensation includes food and hotels. 
  • Thanks to the EU we can currently visit museums and theatres at the same price as locals. 
  • All European citizens are currently guaranteed free urgent health care whilst on holiday in European countries (Europe Health Insurance Card). That would be likely be compromised, meaning you need expensive Travel insurance in case of illness of accidents. 
  •  In a nutshell, this is some of the likely fallout for travellers from the Brexit: More expensive travel due to weaker pound; hassles and costs with Visas; increased ticket prices and decreased choice; inability to profit from low telecom prices/free roaming; loss of free health-care in EU; no more compensation for failed package holidays and flight delays; in addition, we will not be part of EU wide emergency care in case of crisis;this is important since we risk a destabilized, weaker and less secure Europe. 
  • Europe offers a huge amount of benefits to UK tourists, that are at risk with the Brexit.

    We all live in our own time. Nobody born in the future or the past will ever live through exactly these moments. Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to make a choice that will massively affect our lives and our futures. 

    I know better than anyone else that making decisions can be difficult.  In fact it’s sometimes scary. It might be tempting not to make that choice and to go to Glastonbury instead. But this decision is hugely important. Don’t forget how much it will affect your future. 

    My personal choice is for the UK to remain part of Europe, in order to profit from, contribute to, and build a better Europe. 

    But whatever your choice might be, please don’t let this occasion pass you by. It is far too significant. Please Vote!


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