*Away and Home


Summer holidays are here! I have just come home from a holiday in Catalonia, N. Spain, and my grand-daughters have just flown off to Dubai. All around people are coming and going, travelling to somewhere to have a holiday.

Why do we do it? To go anywhere costs a lot of money, takes days to organise, hours of effort to leave the house in order, pack, get to the airport, or seaport, take buses, taxis or hire-cars to our destination, only to flop in a hot, sweaty, exhausted, limp mess at the end. Usually you can bank on at least a day to get there and a day to return. The rewards for these efforts must be enormous, for us to want to go.

I, personally, like to explore. I enjoy seeing other cultures, trying out a different way of life, seeking out the historic sites and sampling the local food.I also like to feel that my time is my own, to stay out late, or sleep in the afternoon, to idly sit and stare, and commune with Nature. I live in beautiful Dorset, but we have no mountains, so to experience a mountain or two is a change from home.

I also quite enjoy the actual travelling, the feeling of moving, going somewhere, away from the familiar into the unknown, despite the nervousness of being on the right train, going in the right direction, and making the link to the next stage, in time. It’s that ‘nervousness’ that I call excitement. To be in a state of alertness is good, I feel.

When we are away from home, we are exposed to the unfamiliar. We have to communicate in a different language. I have a ‘global’ language that seems to work quite well. It is a mixture of a few standard words in the local language, hastily learned from a guide book on the plane, a lot of hand signals and facial expressions and English spoken in a heavy accent [to disguise the fact that I am actually speaking in English], thrown in. The locals love it. It makes them laugh and I have never come across a local who hasn’t wanted to help a lost foreigner struggling with a map or strange currency.

On arriving home, I am exhausted. I really feel as though I have been somewhere. Not just physically, but in other ways. Time has passed, I am older and wiser, my hair has grown, and I am different because I have a different view on life, and the people and places in the World. I think it was Tennyson who wrote something to the effect that when we travel the world, living adventures, we finally come to the place from whence we started and see it ‘as for the first time’.

There is talk on the grape-vine that our attitude to travel will have to change, as fuel becomes more expensive and the emissions make too much pollution. It is curious that they said that about horses once. We do have alternatives. We can use our feet more. We can find different, less polluting fuel. We can stay at home. And we can ‘virtual’ travel. To ‘virtual’ travel one needs mental pictures, either from personal memories, or from a vivid imagination.

Salvador Dali saw the world in a different way, Science Fiction imagines other worlds and other dimensions. Even Science Non-Fiction offers us ‘quantum perspectives’ on reality. We have ‘virtual’ pictures already with photography, and the computer. It seems that we can imagine anything, and ‘travel’ to imagined places already. The vehicle we need to travel to the ‘virtual world’ is the ‘Inner Eye’, and we all have one already.

However you may be traveling to your summer holiday, have fun and collect some wonderful memories. If you cannot travel physically to a place abroad, or even at home, try ‘virtual travel’ and see how far you can get, and have fun at your IMAGINed destINATION!

Wendy Salter

[original writing]

Published in: on January 1, 2009 at 11:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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