We have all noticed and commented upon the fact that travel is really not a whole lot of fun any more. Going away (unless on business) is exciting and arriving “there” is great but the getting between the two places is purgatory. Three hour ahead of departure check-ins at the airport, cramped seating, excessively intrusive security, less than appealing food, screaming kids and lines for the toilets and then possibly lost baggage when you “de-plane” as they insist on calling getting off nowadays. Even if you can drive and avoid flying we still have to deal with traffic jams and road diversions and especially with other drivers trying to kill us.
No longer can it be said that “Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains.” (Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel) unless the internal conversation is an argument with yourself about the desriability of throttling the parents of that screming child kicking the back of your seat.
There’s a magazine piece on the BBC website today about the relative enjoyment, romance even, that there used to be in travel and which we have lost today. It caught my eye as it was sprinkled with old fashioned travel posters from the days when travel actually was fun and exciting … and I am old enough to actually remember some of these posters. I must say that modern airline advertising could learn a thing or two from these artists.
Can we go back to travel by train soon please … preferably by steam train? There used to be porters to carry your bags back then, I recall …