450 days – bureaucracy does not like world travelers

Curious experiences with administrations

On my to-do list, I’ve been working on bureaucratic stuff for the past 50 days. I had to learn that one virtually does not exist as a world traveler. Kafka and Boris Vian, both write nothing but the pure truth about bureaucrats. In our open-end journey we have to organize everything differently than at our past year at sea. After all, the administrations here in Luxembourg are very friendly. But it does not really help if someone tells you nicely and kindly that he can do nothing for you and you will not be covered by health insurance anymore. In the year at sea, we paid € 12,000 for our health insurance, which has not even refunded the treatments of my broken hand. We were virtually uninsured and for a great price. With this experience, my demands were particularly overpowering and I had to learn that Luxembourgers who are permanently outside the EU – what you usually do when traveling around the world – are not insurable. Small country, short distances and now my concern lies with the Minister of Health. Although I am allowed to sail the “roude leiw” (our flag with the red lion) around the world, but I can not assure myself voluntarily. It will probably mean that I have to use the providers of our neighboring countries.

By the way, flag. To fly a flag of Luxembourg, you must be a resident of Luxembourg. But if you are never in the country, a residence is as unnecessary as a bagpipe. You need a flag on a ship, but you will not get it if you are always on the oceans because you are not based in Luxembourg. Logical? You do not have to be a resident, but you must be a resident. Incidentally, this also applies to the bank. Of course you need a bank account on the way. Without account, credit card and investment nothing works. For a bank you need an address, otherwise the bank can cancel at any time. She can do that anyway, but without an address, that’s guaranteed. Go on a world trip without bank account. Should you then lug around cash in bags or put gold bars in the bilge? This is a bit of a hindrance to the investment and also violates then entry requirements, such. In the USA. With a lot of cash you are a designated criminal. You also do not get an account in a country on the way, because …. tatata …. you have no address in the visited country.

It continues with the cell phone contract. We have ours at Deutsche Telekom in fixed contracts. We can not use it outside the EU, which obviously surprised the consultant, so I canceled the contracts. However, we need a telephone number for some administrative matters, e.g. for online banking. We both want to keep our phone numbers. Stay only prepaid solutions, which has to be extended online. This requires a bank account, which must be connected to a mobile phone. Klaro? Of course you also need an address for the first prepaid card (KYC is not only a banking issue). And then there are also prepaid contracts that you have to use once a month, otherwise expires contract and phone number. Can be tight, on a Pacific crossing to deal with. A very clever advisor said we should buy maps in the countries along the way. Uiiii, advice from a shifter. Did he think we would be running our data hotspot in Cape Town or Barbados via telecom roaming? On our last trip, we had 8 cell phones, because each island had a different provider, which gives prepaid cards with mobile phone. At some point we came up with the clever but not legal idea of ​​jailbreaking a cell phone and just buying SIM cards and setting up a data hotspot. But with jailbroken mobile phones you can not do any online banking, which leads us back to the need to keep our old numbers.

Back to start. Incidentally, Vodafone is the only (known to me) provider to offer a world tariff for a slim € 500 per month. But you need not only – you will guess it – a … tatata …. address, but also a company in order to get a business rate. And that’s exactly what we do not want anymore, which is why we want to deregister everything. The perfect solutions for world travelers are made for people who stay at home. Well, empathy and intelligence are rare plants.

But not enough of the pleasure. There are also the passports. Our Luxembourg version is only valid for 5 years, minus the obligatory 6 months expiry date, so in fact only 4.5 years. Many VISA are valid for 10 years, e.g. the US B1 / B2 visa, charged with 150 € p. P.  abundantly expensive and very, very much caused procurement. So when we arrive in Fiji, our passports will expire in time. As you probably know, there are plenty of Luxembourg embassies in the South Pacific, we would have to fly to the next US embassy, ​​presumably in the USA. But we probably will not be able to enter the United States anymore because we have used up the 6-month stay, which limits a US B1 / B2 visa, while staying in California and Hawaii. Or we extend after three years, but then probably come in the United States on the observation list, because we constantly apply for 1/3 of the time new visas – which obviously also would be very stupid. And I’m not talking about the 5 other visas that we’d like to have in our passports. By the way, you pass your passport physically to get a visa. You are in a country for about 2 weeks without a passport and have to wait for the return. The term extension of our passports should be in progress, which I hope to find out with another request to the Ministry.

Its especially “character building” when you have described to your bureaucratic interlocutor your situation (“I go on an open world tour”), repeat that this means that you are not in the country (“no, I’m on my way”), to the objections again remarks that you are not on the world tour in the EU (“no, really not in Europe) – it follows a few seconds silence and then: I’m sorry, because we can not do anything.

That’s when I’d like to anchor in Carlisle Bay immediately. But first I still need to clear my residence. /HB


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