Saturday, 5 August 2017

Holiday fever

So tourism is out of control in many towns and cities. Then what's the answer? Journalist Simon Jenkins suggests we all stop taking holidays and stay at home. Why do we insist on all this travelling around, he asks, especially when travelling is getting so stressful - jammed roads, overcrowded trains, clogged airports.

Well, he might not want a holiday (though I suspect he sneaks off to other countries when nobody's looking), but most of us love our holidays. There's no way we'll sit at home for 52 weeks a year admiring the wheelie bins. We can't wait to set off somewhere new. And as soon as we've had one holiday, we're planning the next.

But he set me thinking - why do I love holidays so much? Why do I love exploring other countries, despite all the frustrations - flight delays, pricey hotels, unreliable weather, surly cabbies, inpenetrable languages, endless siestas. What makes it all worth it?

For a start, I like to go somewhere with a different culture, different customs, a different way of looking at things. It shakes me up a bit. It's easy to get insular and narrow-minded when you're living in the same predictable spot year in and year out.

I like seeing at first hand what a place is really like, when I've only known it as a name on a map, a photo, a media headline, the setting for someone's anecdote, or where some celeb grew up. Because the reality is often quite at odds with the mental image created from all these bits and pieces.

I want to see places that are visually stunning - Sydney Harbour, Venice, Vancouver, New York. Places with extraordinary architecture and buildings, where it's exciting just to walk down a side street and find beautiful, idiosyncratic houses. And places with breathtaking landscapes, like the Swiss Alps, the Rockies or the Scottish Highlands.

Not go on holiday? You must be joking.

29 comments:

kylie said...

It's a long time since I have had a holiday but i dont think I am narrow minded or insular!

Nick said...

Kylie: You're right. You have a very lively mind, can't see you getting insular. Also you have four kids to challenge your thinking!

kylie said...

I have to say they keep me up with the latest, especially with language. I would never have known about "the D' or "on fleek" or "whipped" I'm not sure who will keep me in touch when they move out!

Bijoux said...

I can't imagine not exploring the world. Even if one can't afford to go far, there's staycations, where folks just explore new places within a day's drive. We are lucky here to have so much to do in just a few hours' drive.

Nick said...

Kylie: All new to me! Translated as dick, perfect and hen-pecked/pussy-whipped. I assumed they were Australian but they seem to be American as well. Wiktionary says "on fleek" was coined by a Chicago woman. I've never heard any of them in NI. Or read them anywhere.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Indeed, staycations are good. Jenny and I went to Edinburgh a couple of weeks back. There are lots of beautiful places to visit in Northern Ireland. The Antrim Coast Road is said to be one of the best drives in the world.

Dave Martin said...

Whenever I go on holiday I just want to be at home. I've only been abroad a couple of times and there are a few places I'd like to go, but the idea of an airport is hell to me, and to be honest I'm just not adventurous.
I like being at home, and I don't believe that makes me narrow minded - just content.

CheerfulMonk said...

I did a lot of traveling when I was younger --- including Venice when it wasn't so overrun with tourists. It was great fun then, but I have no desire to do it again. And I don't believe that people who sightsee are any less insular than people who don't.

"It's easy to get insular and narrow-minded when you're living in the same predictable spot year in and year out." As you have no doubt noticed, our life here is full of challenges. For me lifelong learning doesn't require traveling.

Anyway, enjoy your trips. Better you than me. :D

Nick said...

Dave: Airports aren't too bad, once you get used to all the security shenanigans (though this week looks pretty hellish with the new security checks and the Spanish strikes). But hey, if you want to stay at home, why not? Some of us like globe-trotting, some don't. That's okay.

Nick said...

Jean: Ooh, I've been roundly ticked off for implying some of you might be insular and narrow-minded! Okay, I take it all back. I'm sure you can have an open and curious mind even if you've never set foot in another country.

tammy j said...

if somebody paid for it I would go!
I had better be content because it's all I can afford. I do well to cover the basics of simple living! but i'm not complaining. I rather do like staying at home actually.
and now with the internet the whole world is at my fingertips.
have fun whatever you do. but then I know you will! xo

Nick said...

Tammy: Yes, it's hard to be insular when so much information about so many topics is available instantly on the internet.

Treey Stynes said...

The drive on the A55 in north Wales is quite good. It's very scenic.

joared said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your point of view. I thoroughly enjoyed travel to Ecuador many years ago. Some of my across-the-border trips don't really count except to say I was on the soil. When friends backed out on European trips when I was young, I wish I had had the courage to go alone. Once I was wed I learned my husband was only interested in travel in the U.S. We did a lot of that which I greatly enjoyed. I would enjoy more U.S. trips even today. I do regret that I've not done nearly as much traveling elsewhere in the world as I would have liked due to a variety of reasons taking precedence in my life. There is a degree of truth that staying primarily in one place can result in one being insular and narrow-minded based on many people I've met from coast to coast.

Nick said...

Treey: Many years ago when I was staying in North Wales I drove several times from Bangor to Wallasey and back. I don't remember it being especially scenic though.

Nick said...

Joared: A shame your husband only wanted to travel in the States. Not very adventurous! Ah, so there ARE some insular stay-at-homes out there....

I'd quite like to see some of South America. But not Venezuela given the present situation!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I've got a serious case of itchy feet. Always have. And I just embrace my wanderlust. I've seen many wonderful places and never feel sorry that I've gone or eager to return home. I love my home and ma happy here but I always want to see more of this amazing world.

Nick said...

Agent: I like the way the moment you two get back from a holiday, you're busy booking the next one! As you say, it's an amazing world so why not explore it a bit?

joared said...

My husband was adventurous in other ways, considering unexpected health issues he overcame as a young man altering his expected life path to begin in sports. He also switched from wind to self-taught string instrument forming a band, other jazz groups, obtained a private pilot license and more. Retirement years his health limited activities. Life is partially about adaptation and compensating with the unexpected changes necessitated sometimes -- being happy with what is, rather than lamenting what wasn't.

Nick said...

Joared: Forget what I said about not being adventurous! Forming a band and getting a pilot's licence are pretty adventurous. More than I've ever done....

You're right, better to be happy with whatever advantages life gives you than to regret what's missing.

Rummuser said...

I don't have to go on holidays. I am on permanent holidays.

Nick said...

Ramana: Lucky you! I think Jenny also feels a bit like that, having retired from Queen's University and now beholden to nobody!

baili said...

Lovely write up.
who does not like holidays?
sometime free to explore the land where we are dropped as most intelligent (don't count me)species .

I wonder how the other parts of world looks like ,the landscapes the mountains ,rivers ,beaches and much more.....

I want to travel around the world or at least the Europe before dying and i am glad that hubby working on it

Nick said...

Baili: The world is so full of beautiful places. To see them all, I'd have to live for about 1000 years!

Hattie said...

I've seen all the places you mention, with the exception of Scotland. Health issues preclude travel for me for the time being, and, much as I love my Hawaiian home, I long to travel. Moral: Travel is much as can for as long as you can, because the time will come when you can't travel any more.

Nick said...

Hattie: Absolutely. I want to see a few more countries and cities before I get too decrepit to travel.

Scotland is very beautiful....

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm so busy exploring gorgeous Newfoundland I don't have the time or energy to venture further afield. Besides, for the time being I get to host oohing and aahing tourists.

Not seeing but being seen. Lol.

XO
WWW

Nick said...

www: From what you've said over the years, there's so much fabulous scenery in Newfoundland, it takes a lot to lure you out of the country. Though I know you've lived in Toronto and you visited Ireland recently.

roth phallyka said...

I have had a holiday but i dont think I am narrow minded or insular!


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