I just saw the new Beauty and the Beast adaptation with Emma Watson, and I have to say that it was a great adaptation of the original. In the new version, some elements were added to give new life to an old story. Among these was a magical book that the Beast allows Belle to use in order to travel anywhere in the world that she desires. So naturally, as I was admiring Disney’s newest film, I asked myself, “If I could visit any place in the world, where would I visit?” But before I could even answer my own question, another thought occurred to me: the nationality of a traveler affects their ability to travel internationally. So, instead of perusing the web for Beauty and the Beast fan theories, I researched various passports from around the globe. This is what I found.
Americans, though we like to think we are the best at just about everything, do not have the world’s best passport. In fact, we don’t even have the second best, or third even. America is ranked by Passport Index as having the world’s fourth most powerful passport, tied with eight other nations. The Passport Index ranks passports by how many other nations it can visit visa-free. The world’s best passport belongs to the Germans, with their ability to travel to 160 nations without visa. So, if a young girl in Germany just saw Die Schone und das Biest, it is her that has the most travel potential.
What does this mean on a bigger scale? It means nationalism from decades and centuries ago still affects our lives in a meaningful way today. There is a reason Americans cannot visit Pakistan or Iran without visa, or why Colombians need a visa to travel to Costa Rica but Mexicans do not. That reason is tension. That reason is the existence of allies and enemies. That reason is our inability to forget the past and look forward on a global scale. We should be gazing in that direction, aspiring to one day be global citizens and not consider a fantasy trip to be fantasy at all. We should be one.