A border crossing, an old-fashioned BMW, and a bundle


My dad and a follow-on bundle that was my little brother with the BMW during a trip back from Germany to visit family in the U.K.

Writing about the Iraq-Kuwait border got me thinking about other border crossings I’ve made or tried to make, or had done on my behalf, as happened when I was a two-week old.

My birth in London’s St. Thomas’ Hospital coincided with my father, a British Army dental officer, being posted to Germany. As a result, my parents and I crammed into the family’s BMW—compared to today’s BMWs it looked more like a Lada—loaded down with suitcases and possessions, and drove to Germany.

Arriving at the customs post on the Belgium-German border, the border guard inquired how many passengers were traveling. My father replied three, resulting in a puzzled border guard, him seeing only my father and mother and the rest of the car so jam-packed to make a third passenger impossible.

Once my mother raised a little bundle from her lap, all three passengers were accounted for and he waved us on through the border into Germany. My peripatetic lifestyle had begun.