taking a taxi from Beirut to Damascus…

taking a taxi from Beirut to Damascus…

 

Something I don’t discuss much in my blog is business.

Instead of discussing Naseba, I try to use situations and adventures I experience whether as a businessman or individual to encourage reflection, not just for myself, but ideally employees and or readers of this blog.  Making life happen.  Living life to its fullest.  Experiencing the world. etc.

One issue I often discuss is misinformation in the media.

Simply put:  what we see on CNN, Fox, Facebook is not the true reality of the situation –  especially, when it comes to the Muslim world.

Unfortunately, our world today is so dominated by “fake news” and misinformation driven by geopolitics… mixed in with the incredible self-centered, “me..me…me, please like me” culture we live in today….that our view of things is too often blurred to a point where we don’t question, we just accept and assume things we see on TV  or read on the net is real.   We trust.

Today’s blog is a quick ramble about a business trip I took to Syria 8 months ago.

Over the past 8 years, I have had the opportunity to travel to Syria 3 times.

My last trip was a quick, confidential trip to Damascus back at the middle/end of 017.

Syria has been absolutely decimated, destroyed to a level where hope is all but gone.  Crushed, blown up, bombed, gassed – gone.

Luckily, the oldest city in the world, Damascus has largely gone untouched and is still comparable to the rest of the country, safe.

One of the divisions within Naseba’s financial services is focused on citizenship by investment, and we work with St. Kitts & Nevis, the oldest, most reputable citizenship by investment program in the world – and through investing in our project in St. Kitts & Nevis, we are able to help get clients new citizenship.

For the past 18 months, we have helped more than 30 Syrian clients get new citizenship with a passport that allows them to travel to more than 160 countries visa-free.

Being able to travel completely hassle free and without visas is something I think many Americans and Europeans take for granted, but for citizens from geopolitical hot spots like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan, Pakistan … the freedom to travel is invaluable.

Anyway…

Back in the middle of 017, we were contacted by a Syrian lawyer who needed to get a large number of his clients and their families citizenship and new passports as soon as possible.

Because the “deal” was potentially worth several million dollars, I got involved and went to Beirut to meet this lawyer.  Upon checking into my hotel … I got a call from the lawyer I was scheduled to meet and told he could not make it into Lebanon and asked me to come to Damascus.

After speaking with the US embassy and confirming it was “safe enough” … and then chased the Syrian embassy to get a visa so quickly, and was told I couldn’t … but my big American charm worked out for the best … and ultimately, within a couple days, I was able to enter the country.

I took a taxi from Beirut to Damascus … when I did the trip back in 010, it was much easier to just take a taxi and get a visa at the Lebanon/Syrian border … now it’s more challenging.

The taxi from Beirut to Damascus is very easy.  For the most part, the highway between the two historic cities is modern and very efficient.  You would never know you are in the middle of a war zone.

It must be said that Damascus is an amazing, beautiful city.  Maybe the most beautiful old city I have ever experienced.

My American friends always talk about how dangerous my lifestyle sounds … but in truth, I am much more worried going for a walk in parts of Chicago or Miami than I am traveling/walking/adventuring in the middle east.

Ultimately, my trip was easy, safe and successful.  We confirmed several clients and their families and began the process to get them new citizenship.

Fast forward to the middle of December 017….

One of the Syrian clients whom I met on that trip to Damascus and we got he and his brothers and their families passports…
Over the couple months of this client and his brother’s application, I have become friends with him and his brothers, but especially him.

Back in December, I was in a meeting in Paris when I had the same phone number try and call my mobile several times.  I assumed it was an emergency, so I left the meeting and went outside to take the call.

The several calls were from my Syrian client who was calling to inform me he had just exited immigration in London Heathrow airport.

The client was so happy and relieved, he was sobbing, crying like a baby on the call with happiness.

It was the first time he had ever been able to travel to the UK.

Ultimately, on his December trip, this Syrian client traveled to France and Italy as well – both for the first time.

Some of the readers will be cynical (as I would probably be cynical myself), and think I am just saying all this because its marketing fluff, promoting Naseba’s citizenship investment division  – but, I am an American who has traveled to more than 100+ countries including numerous trips to hot spots like Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq and Yemen, I understand better than most how geopolitics has destroyed so many people lives and futures, thus I gain something much more than monetary reward in being able to help and support my clients and friends completely change their lives by getting new citizenship and passports.

I decided to post this blog because I just received a thank you present out of the blue from the Syrian client/friend mentioned above – he sent me 2 boxes of Cohiba Siglo V cigars, my favorite cigar.  (very expensive, unnecessary, but much-appreciated gift)

I am NOT suggesting any of the readers go off and adventure into Syria right now … to be honest, it would take a deal even bigger than the contract above to get me to adventure back …

But next time you travel and adventure whether for work or business .. enjoy the freedom.

Many people out there, regardless of how wealthy they might be, do not have the same freedom and ease of travel just because of the country they are from.

For more information on Naseba’s citizenship by investment program:  https://goo.gl/u3NmTh

 

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