Thursday, February 21, 2008

Now, I would walk five hundred miles!

Off to Jockland, where chaps wear skirts (I say!) soon with the Antipodean. Like any good tourist on holiday she will no doubt have a checklist of things to 'do'.

This has made me ponder: when does a 'Holiday' become 'Travelling'? Most of what the public call travelling - what Gap years, aimless over paid kiwis and the ubiqutous quoters of 'I Love Travelling' refer unto - I call Long Holidays.
In my mind 'travelling' = 'under one's own steam, intitiative and command'. Buying a ticket from Kiwiexpress overland special bus (Loo roll included) to me is an extended and somewhat dirty package holiday. Off the beaten track, interesting and a lot of fun, but a package tour, nonetheless.

Obviously if you strung a heap of these together, to build a unique voyage then it becomes somewhat more credible - but I feel the thrust of my argument remains. That is the difference between a fairground ride and an adventure. You can't buy tickets for real adventure.

If you disagree - consider this is what the very first concept of the package tour was.

Mr Thomas Cook invented it - his first one abroad in 1849 to Calais, so that the middle and working classes of Victorian England could experience his temperance excursions, (Modern eco tourism is a good comparison).
After that, they were sold as travelling adventures. particulalry in the Middle East.

Nowadays we look down on such things as nasty and cheap, and hold these trips for gappers and the like in some kind of higher esteem.
But remember, in the 1850s, A trip to Spain or Italy was as wild, exotic and far flung then, as these bundled trips over Central America or across the Serengheti might seem today.

It is worth considering, after all that the relief of Khartoum by sending troops up the Nile was done on ships rented from Thomas Cook. Napoleon's army was thrown out by Wellington - who was supplied by P+O.

Learn to navigate, learn the language, take a case of Lucky Strike, Johnny Walker and greenbacks (The language of border guard bribes everywhere) and sail, fly, ride drive yourself there. Ok, you may need to learn how to do those things - but I think that could be my point.
Slither your way about by your wits and charm as well, I say.

I think this could make me something of a snob.

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