Travelling West depicts the journey of my friend Hossein, as he travelled overland from his home town, Qazvin, in Western Iran, to England, seeking asylum. He left at Iranian New Year, March 2006, and arrived at a service station on the M1 in June the same year. During the three months he travelled by bus to a village close to the Iran –Turkey border. From there he went by truck to another village where he joined the smuggler route to get over the border, travelling through the mountain passes on horse-back to avoid check points. From a village on the Turkish side, he travelled by lorry and on foot: the lorry took the refugees by road but when a check point was in sight, they had to walk, at night, over the mountains to reconnect with the road and another truck on the other side of that check point. From the Turkish city of Van, he took a bus to Istanbul, using forged identity papers in case he was questioned at one of the fourteen checkpoints on the way from Eastern to Western Turkey. From Istanbul he went by lorry, with another group, to Ezmir and from there by boat to the Greek mainland and on to Athens. At every point of change, he was passed on to a new trafficker, each one arranged by the one before. From Athens he went by plane to Paris, Orly where he took the metro to Gare du Nord and took the train to Calais. At Calais, in the queue for food, provided by kindly French charity workers, he met an old friend. They made a sleeping place in the cabin of an old crane until, one night, after numerous attempts, they got on a lorry which took them to England, disgorging them all in the car park of a service station on the M1.
Hunger and Danger