I was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Before I started kindergarten my family moved to Puerto Rico, where I grew up. I have lived in 6 different countries for at least a year and traveled to another 36.
One thing I’ve learned in these travels is that basically we are all the same. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, the color of your skin, or how rich or poor you are. Fundamentally we are all the same.
We all want to provide our families with the basic needs in life. We want our children to grow up healthy and with a better life than our own. We all play and laugh and cry and worry. We are all human.
The question, “Where are you from?” has always been a difficult one for me. Does that mean where was I born? Where was I formed? Or, where do I live now? I carry a U.S. passport but I haven’t lived in the US for the last 22 years of my life.
My wife and I live in Canada (she is Canadian) for 6 months of the year and in Mexico for the other 6 months. I enter both countries on a tourist visa valid for 6 months. I am a permanent resident of neither. Sometimes we travel to other countries instead of the 6 months we spend in Mexico.
Last year we were in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia, all on tourist visas. I don’t think of myself as an expat. Perhaps I am more of an allpat, a citizen of the world.
This COVID-19 virus touches everyone the same. It respects no frontier, no religion, no status, no race. It mocks our borders and our petty distinctions. It calls for us to work together like one people, like one world.
I can think of nothing else short of an alien invasion, which would bring the world together in the same way. Maybe this is an opportunity to disband borders, tear down walls, and realize that we are all one.
We are all Earthlings.
Robert E. Knight lived in Colorado for 12 years, but now splits his time among various locations.