Where are we going? What is our plan?As a person who sometimes feels at home in airports, on planes and in transiting types of places, I wonder what those of the past thought about this idea of “in-between”? The airports of the past don’t really exist now, at least not in many of the modern cities of the world. The time of being able to smoke inside is gone, as well as on an airplane — as well as the days of steak and champagne in the air. Those of us, myself included, that long or at least think about this type of existence are lost in travel thought. I once had the experience of going to one of the oldest, and perhaps the most interesting airport I’ve been to in Beira, Mozambique. A relic of the past, complete with smoking lounge and the airplane that parks, just outside the waiting area with the stairs on wheels to allow the passengers to embark and disembark. Upstairs in the lounge that overlooked the airfield, a small bar that served “drinks” and bad, albeit the only, coffee in the building. What is it that attracts so many people to bad coffee in airports? Or, what attracts bad coffee companies to airports? This was not a company, but alas, and old many with a tea kettle and some instant coffee in a glass jar, or at least this is how I remember it.
Maybe my memory of this event is muddled, or maybe I am trying to over romanticize something that happened a few years ago. Travel is easy to romanticize, even in this day and age where travel is never, or usually not, comfortable, reliable or convenient. Those days too, have passed without much thought.
I think boat travel is perhaps the last refuge of the romantic traveller, giving way to long thoughtful periods of time spent in the open sea air, sunsets over the vast ocean, dinner in a formal dining room, pool drinks during the day. This is what might be considered, civilized. But when one fills these civilized ideas of travel with screaming children and tourists, you loose your mind and idea of comfort easily.
So what is travel now? What is the state of moving around the world, country, state, city, block, house, room? Why do we keep accepting the many challenging aspects of long distance movement? I don’t know to be honest. The reasons are different for each of us, from business to family to a need to escape from whatever kind of life you are in, to the absolute craving of a good bowl of spicy noodle soup. These are all valid reasons, as many many others are as well.
It is a strange beast, traveling.