It’s not you, it’s me
So who among us is guilty of trying to return to a certain time, place or ‘feel’, in an attempt to recreate a special moment?
In recent years I’ve had underwhelming re-acquaintances with Montreal, Kuala Lumpur, Orlando and Dubai to name a few, all of which took the gloss off my original memories of those cities. Actually I don’t think I could ever have been less impressed by Dubai.
Yet the UK (and London in particular) never disappoints. I can’t quite employ such superlatives such as ‘warmth’ and ‘comfort’ – its too bloody cold here for that – but there is always something magical about a how-long-will-it-last British summer, the smell of lubricant and engine oil as the gears of the Tube’s escalators turn endlessly, an ‘iffy’ kebab on the way home following a sneaky pint, and the sight of rubbish blowing across pedestrian crossings on any given High Street.
It just feels like coming home.
A golden age of travel
Modern travel is a gift, so easily taken for granted, yet clearly an opportunity to be cherished and valued.
Think about it.
If you agree with accepted scientific opinion that we are thousands of years into an ‘organised’ human civilisation – since caves and trees made way to houses, farming and governance – then we of the 21st century really are just a minute speck on the timeline of human life. Halfway along that timeline, a visit to the neighbours’ tar pit was as far as most people would ever manage; it wasn’t that long ago when horse and carriage was the only means of transport when legs and feet wouldn’t cut it, and boat’s were for the gentry.
So consider the current era of affordable inter-continental airfare, bullet trains, and buses with toilets. Marry the means with even minimal desire and we can journey to the farthest reaches of the planet within a day or two, not withstanding flight delays, stubborn donkeys and the odd dodgy prawn pizza.
There may well be a day when humans travel to Alpha Centauri in the blink of an eye, and in turn, those travellers will look back at our time and scoff at our poverty, waste, carbon consumption and general lack of evolution. Hard to argue when you consider so many of us think Today Tonight is news, Big Brother is quality entertainment, and Tony Abbot should be Prime Minister.
Yet here we all are on this very day, presiding over the greatest advancements in our species’ history.
Until, of course, tomorrow becomes the ‘present’.