A few days ago I was in Spain for a short break with friends. A very convivial time was had by all and it was great to get away.
The actual travelling part of the whole trip had been completely unremarkable – which, on reflection, was itself remarkable. I remember as a child being taken on a plane – also to Spain – for my first international holiday. For that episode I recall the weeks of planning, the anticipation, the expectation and then the novelty of flight as the great day arrived and our plane pushed back, prepared to take off and finally roared down the runway into the sky.
To a child then, the whole experience seemed nothing less than fantastical – the stuff of dreams. To a grown man last week the feeling was more akin to that of getting on a bus – a necessary nuisance but the most rapid way of getting from A to B and the pleasures of those few days away.
It is fair to say that we are all curious at some level to know more about the world in which we live, it’s part of our collective psyche.
Travel, they say, broadens the mind. Well it certainly prompts conversation because hard on the heels of any international trip come the stories – and we all love a good yarn. For me though, the process of travel is as fascinating as the final destination.
Maybe it’s the modern age and our general familiarity with travelling to distant lands which makes getting there so unremarkable. Every day millions of us criss-cross the planet en route for whatever destination and for whatever reason. We barely give it a thought – it’s just part of the context of travel itself.
It this down to economic factors? Possibly. But from my earlier days in business it was always reckoned that come what may, the Great British Public would see to it that there was the wherewithal with which to take a holiday of some kind and with fares now as low (with options!) as they are, world travel at modest cost is accessible to many of us.
The fact that it is as accessible as it is makes the process almost routine – so in a sense familiarity really does breed contempt.
SELF LOADING FREIGHT
I think it might be a generational thing too. We are so used to the immediacy of being able to get on a plane that the prospect of doing so barely registers on a conscious basis – and perhaps that’s a pity.
Surely the prospect of travelling to unfamiliar lands should produce excitement in its own right. Personally I hate the sheer ignominy of the security checks before departure.
Being herded towards the scanners, having to remove clothing and maybe being frisked whilst at the same time being generally treated as a piece of self loading freight irritates me hugely – but then again I am rubbish at queuing.
My coping mechanism is to adopt an almost Zen-like calm until I’m finally in my seat. Then, and only then, does the adventure begin, at which point I love it.
Plenty of people will be getting away this week, either to meet up with family and friends for the festive season or to get away from it all, perhaps until the start of the new year. If you are one of them, enjoy your own travels. And if not, maybe now’s the time for an early new year resolution to start planning an adventure anyway to whatever timescale you choose. Have a very happy Christmas and a adventurous start to 2013!