Traveling To Austria : My Experience On A Virgin Passport (Part I)
As a way of introduction, and as you may have rightly guessed from the title of my story; I GOT A SHENGHEN VISA ON A VIRGIN PASSPORT. I had never travelled out of Nigeria before, but I have always wanted to. I had never entered a plane before, or even interacted with it, well apart from the AIR PLANE MODE OF MY ANDROID PHONE. In my 30s, and I was yet to dis-virgin my international travel life.
I would spend days reading about travel stories from around the world. I would spend hours on different travel blogs digesting the countless travel stories and experiences people shared. And when I felt down and depressed about how low we have fallen as a nation; how irredeemably bad living standard has become, and how lives are lost in droves, fuelled by the silence of the political elites; I would go to Youtube and watch interesting travel videos from around the world. Then I would say to myself, “This world is a beautiful place, all hope is not lost!”
I wanted to see the beautiful world out there. I wanted to cross the boundaries of our country and see people of other races. I wanted to see how they live, how they work, what they eat, how they dress, how they love or unlove; their approach to certain issues of life and so on. If I could, I would have done a trip to Ghana, just to satisfy my curiosity, but my bank account strictly advised me not to cross River Niger . Oh, I live in the Eastern part of Nigeria.
So I kept waiting and believing GOD.
Then an opportunity presented itself for a trip to Austria, Europe. I was to attend a particular event in Austria with my family. My brother over there sent me invitation letters from the organization managing the event.
And then the visa processing started; visa on a virgin passport.
NB : What I will be sharing here are my personal experiences during the course of my travel. Should you not entirely agree with the information I put forward here, just understand that I am writing from my view and experience as a virgin traveler.
Well in case you don’t know yet, Austria, and indeed most Shenghen countries do not conduct interviews for those applying for short term visas. You only need to submit the required documents to the VFS either at Abuja or Lagos and then go home and pray. When they take a decision on your visa (normally takes 3 weeks), they will invite you to come for your passport, whether the decision is positive or negative.
In our case, we submitted our documents at VFS Abuja.
After three weeks, I got a mail from them saying we should come and pick up our passports. We travelled to the VFS office, Abuja and collected our passports. I gently lifted it up to the Great Ruler Of All Things in fervent plea. I prayed “ In case they didn’t give me the visa, Lord this is the time to do it. As I open my passport, I want to see my visa smiling back at me”.
Then gently I opened my passport. The first page was blank, next page blank. I checked next, it was blank. Next, next, next – blank, blank, blank. I went blank. Thank GOD for my sister who quickly took my passport and carefully scanned every page, and looking up with a big smile, she said “congrats little brother, we are going to Austria”.
Beholding my visa brought a big smile to my face and my heart started beating again. My Dad, mum, sisters and brothers all got positive decisions on their visa applications. Austria Here We come!
The first thing we did was to book our flights. Our travel date was already close, barely 3 weeks away, so we needed to get our tickets urgently as the prices were soaring high. We still got KLM at N328,000, return ticket. I also went for the Yellow Fever immunization, as part of the international travel process.
On the appointed day, we arrived early at Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos. We got to the airport around 1pm for a 10pm flight. I heard people are not allowed to take edibles into the plane, so I branched to the Nwanyi Nnewi’s buka and ate enough fufu and draw soup. I was ready for the long night ahead of me.
On entering the arrivals part of the airport, one woman who claimed to be from Quarantine dept rushed us and ordered that we park our Ghana Must Go bags by the corner. She asked if we have foodstuffs inside and I answered in affirmative. She said we will bring 5K for searching, processing and quarantining my bags. All the grammar na for make I drop something. We started bargaining and arrived at 2k. I gave her the money and carried off our bags. I know my village people must looking for ways to ruin my trip or even cancel it entirely, but GOD pass them, LOL!
We queued up at the KLM check-in area. It was time for checking in and the queue was growing speedily. All our bags passed the allotted kg checks. We were checked in and directed towards the Entry gate for boarding.
Now I brought out my camera and the party started 🙂