Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tip of the Day

I had a bit of surprise visitor this week. A friend from long ago has decided to come to Berlin and stay with us! (she is brave staying with someone with a 2 year old!)

My friend D is probably the most well traveled person I know. She works just to take months off and see the world. She helped with rescue recoveries in the tsunami disaster on the island of Koh Phi Phi in May 2005 and since then has been traveling around on and off around Asia, Africa, South American and of course, Europe. She also occasionally writes for MSN travel and if you want to check it out here.

So when she has living as an expat advice-I listen!

Here is the 1st American Expat Tip of the Day.

The next time someone tells you the the figure that only 10% of Americans have passports, (instead of dissing us unless it is one of those days and then feel free to diss away) point out that the distance from Seattle or LA to New York City is GREATER than the distance between London and Moscow!

Also, when was the last time you needed a passport to open a bank account in the good ole USA? hmm...Never? Well, Europeans need their passports to open bank accounts. They don't use the drivers licenses as frequently.

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Evidently, the "being a foreigner," no matter what country you are in, is the real reason why one shows a passport to open a bank account. Let me also clarify that this information came from other sources and not my friend.

Regardless, this means that I won't be posting much this week but I do have a special Funny Foto Freitag coming up!

How do you deal with conversations like these?

Note: while I agree that Americans need to travel more, I believe that pure geography has a little to do with it! Americans have beaches, mountains, deserts etc....you don't need to leave your country to see different landscapes!


arturgreensward said...

I started life as an expat by having those conversations, now I just don't have them. People want to bash the US... Fine. People want to compliment the US... Fine. For me it's not worth the energy to have too many of those discussion.

Just explaining the electoral college is enough work this time of year. :)

Diane Mandy said...

Enjoy your visitor!!

Andrea said...

YA! You go! I am so sick of people asking why Americans don't have passports. I'll just point them over to your blog Yelli, that'll keep em quiet :)

Isabelle said...

I am European and lived in the US for 6 years. I was asked to show my passport when I opened a bank account in the US. I have opened many bank accounts in the Europe and never needed a passport for that...

By virtue of being a foreigner you are putting yourself at "risk" of ... well.. having to show your passport at the bank for example. Is that really such a big deal though?

Yelli said...

@ Isabelle - I have wrong information! Yikes! I will correct it in my post. Thanks for letting me know!

cliff1976 said...

I've been thinking about this topic for a few years now.

I imagine a government-issued form of identification is a reasonable request for opening a bank account.

What forms of government-issued identification do you have? I have only my passport.

Yelli said...

Maybe I am not being clear. I could care less what kind of document one needs to open up a bank account. I am more concerned with being berated with the question, "why don't Americans have passports." (Oddly enough in my personal experience, this comes more from British than Germans but I do hear it.)

What I am trying to explain is my personal guesses as to why more Americans don't have passports.

cliff1976 said...

I am more concerned with being berated with the question, "why don't Americans have passports."

I hear you. I don't really like being made to answer on behalf of my fellow Americans, either — about politics, economics, or cultural things.

But anyone asking you why more Americans don't have passports should be shown a map — just like your point about the distance from LA to NYC. And maybe a reminder that up until quite recently, a passport wasn't required for air travel between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico. I didn't need one to get into the Dominican Republic in 1999, either — I imagine other countries in the area have similar policies.

So quite simply, most United States citizens have no need for one.