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Is Travel the Answer?

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

A wee little travel essay I was asked to write as a guest article to a University publication

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” Samuel Johnson

To so many people, travel is seen as a method of running away. Of avoiding reality and shunning our societal and moral responsibilities. In short, it’s merely a self-indulgent, short-term endeavour that’ll eventually come to an end. And with that end, we’ll return to ‘reality’ with a sharp kick, to sadly set off exactly where we left off a few months earlier. In the words of Elizabeth Drew, “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.”

Now, although this may be a fair assessment of many backpackers and travellers the world over, it’s a long-shot from truly explaining the rationale and motivation behind much wandering vagabondism.

For so many poor lost souls out there, the country they grow up in is too small a pond to enable one to truly appreciate what needs to be appreciated. The restrictions set forth by individual cultures can all too easily close the mind off to alternative, and more positive thought modes.  As D. Runes once said; “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home”. Read more…

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Categories: Misc, Travel, Writing

Can we live the Ideal Life Anywhere?

February 11, 2010 1 comment

This topic sprung up in a philosophy seminar I had last week, and with the coincidence of Scott Young writing something about this just a couple of days ago, it got the old brain juices flowing.

As I read him, Scott believes there’s an ideal city for us. Our character may suit the romanticism of Paris more than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. Each city holds different things for each of us, with the challenge being to find the city that suits us most fully, in order for us to reach the peak of enjoyment and satisfaction in life.

I want to go against this idea though. Consider London, believed be fast paced, exciting and vibrant. Who would suit this kind of place more than a fast paced, vibrant person, you may ask. But it must be remembered that all the places mentioned in this debate are colossal in size, and so it’s simply too quick to say that one place is unsuitable for certain characters, yet perfect for others. Labelling a city with just one characteristic is like saying all Christians are homophobic, or no Caucasians can dance.

Read more…

Categories: 'Self Help', Misc, Travel Tags: ,

Morocco Hitch: The Verdict

December 20, 2009 Leave a comment

In the end the hitchhike took us (thee of us) 21 lifts, or in timescales, one week. We traveled from London to Portsmouth, took the overnight ferry (only £19 with LD Lines!) to le Havre, and hitched Southward through Rennes, Bordeaux, San Sebastian, Vitoria, Madrid, Seville, and finally to Tarifa.<p>

I have to say something about Tarifa though, as this is a town that didn’t even appear on my map! We were on our way to Algeciras when the Spanish surfer ‘dude’ who was giving us a lift told us that he can drop us off at Tarifa, where we could catch ‘cheap ferry: Spain to Tangier’. As soon as we arrived in the town, I knew that one day I would have to go back to spend some time there.

As soon as you arrive, it feels like you’re in Spain’s own Newquay. Surfers, windsurfers and power-kiters pack the beaches (this was in April, remember!), and in the town centre, there are surf shops, ‘kite lesson’ shops, and bohemian looking bars in all directions. And what’s more, it’s hardly been touched by the Brits! Maybe next summer… Read more…

Categories: The List, Travel