Thursday, March 08, 2012

Guest post: The journey or the destination


It's the return of my favourite guest blogger today - Rachel from Because I Said So. Last time she talked about toothache in Japan, but this time round Rachel's getting a bit more philosophical and tackles the big travelling debate: is it really about the journey or the destination?

When I travel it is most definitely about the destination. The journey most times, I wish I could blink and it be over, especially when travelling by plane. The hours seem to drag when you are excited about beginning your new adventure and to be honest they don’t seem to pass any faster on the way home ...

I have had a couple of enjoyable journeys – train rides meandering through Vietnam enjoying the spectacular scenery; The Indian Pacific train across Australia – a highlight of which, strangely, was the Nullarbor (miles and miles of flat desert plains); road trips through the beautifully serene South West of Western Australia, super fast trains through the countryside of France – probably all the more enjoyable because of the speed.

Flinders Ranges, South Australia - heading towards beautiful nothingness
I have also had some horrendously unforgettable journeys – an 18 hour, 500km cramped bus ride in Vietnam whilst pregnant with my first child; a stagnant traffic jam with the CD player stuck on repeat after a weekend trip to Yamanashi near Mount Fuji in Japan; and an extremely bumpy and long tuk-tuk ride to visit the Killing Fields in Cambodia also whilst pregnant with my first child, a place that we were coerced into visiting by our charming tuk-tuk driver; to name a few.

One of my worst journey stories nearly put me off flying for life, which would have been tragic! A family of four sitting next to us before take-off were looking very agitated. They were holding hands across the aisle and praying for a safe trip. Just as the plane was starting to taxi onto the runway, the father jumped up and started shouting that they wanted to get off the plane! I’d never worried about planes crashing before this moment and every flight since I feel this slight unease – but I have travelled by plane many times since this happened so it didn’t put me off. Thankfully, I’ve always gotten through the journey and the pleasure of reaching my destination and exploring some place new far outweighs the time and means of getting there, for me anyway.

Plane headed for Vladivostok (my personal worst flight - Amanda)
My Dad on the other hand is very much about the journey. He travels regularly – three big trips this year alone! For him the destination is secondary – he is all about the mode of transport and the ensuing journey. He travels mostly by ship with plane rides used mostly as a means of getting to a point where he can join the ship.

He has visited many places, or ports as he would refer to them; Beijing, Kobe, Phuket, Singapore, Panama, Alaska, and so on – most of these were last year! I’m pretty confident in saying that he wouldn’t be able to tell much about any of those places. He could, however tell you with pinpoint accuracy the date and time they arrived and departed; the make, model, year and place of origin of any and all modes of transport used in each location; and which night they got to dine with the Captain of the cruise ship (apparently this honour is bestowed on the frequent sailors and my Dad always gets an invite!).

Cruise ships docked in Singapore
Everyone is different and their motivations for travelling different. Getting out there and experiencing it is the main thing.

Which type of traveller are you – the journey or the destination?

13 comments:

  1. This was a lovely piece. I thoroughly enjoyed it - it was like a journey in fact, a very gentle one with lots of interesting highlights.

    In reply, I'd say that I love destinations naturally, but although I hate the idea of flying and the first hint of turbulence gets my heart going nineteen to the dozen, I do have a dirty little secret. Here's my confession.

    When I first sit in my seat I breathe out and sigh happily. Especially at the beginning of a long haul flight. Why? Because I'm thinking this: No cooking, no ironing, no grocery shopping. Someone else is doing the driving and someone friendly is going to wait on me hand and foot. Bliss! I'm going to be rumpled, crumpled, unbrushed and unwashed - but then so is everyone else, so no tarting up required. And in return for being thoroughly spoilt, what do I have to do? Absolutely nothing except, read, write and eat. Oh, and drink a glass of wine or two if the turbulence gets too bad :)

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    1. You're right Jo, it's a lovely piece isn't it? I'm very happy to have a talented friend who'll guest post for me :-)

      And I also love your dirty little secret. And feel exactly the same - both about hating flying but loving the fact that all those chores just disappear. That "captive time" is beautiful (although I prefer it on a train than in a plane).

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    2. Thanks for the comment Jo! and Amanda you are too kind as always :)

      On my next flight I'm going to take your advice Jo and think of the things I have to look forward to!

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    3. I'm going to take Jo's advice too but most especially the last part about the wines!

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  2. That was a scary episode to have that family on a plane who wanted to get out! I would be worried they had planted something...

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    1. Ditto Sami, I would have completely freaked out!! I think Rachel was very brave!

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    2. It was very scary! I think it was about 2003 (?) so post 9/11 and yes I was wondering what they knew that I didn't!

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  3. Lovely post.

    I'd say normally I'm about the destination, but after a horrid trip back to Perth from Cairns a couple of years ago, 2 small boys, one not yet 2 in tow, I've come to appreciate the journey. There was a lot NOT to like about that journey. Such as the taxi drivers who refused to collect us because they thought we had too much stuff (wimps - I got that same amount of luggage into our toyota camry, nevermind a falcon wagon!). Such as the 6 hours stuck in the airport with Qantas assuring us our flight would leave soon, then it wouldn't. Such as my husband picking up the wrong bag and not realising until he had a shower the next morning and tried to get changed.

    However, that journey has made for a family legend. About the lovely people we met in the airport. About how beautifully our boys behaved in really boring circumstances for little ones. About how the people in the taxi queue were ready to lynch the next driver who refused to collect our 'lovely family' as one lady put it.

    We're going to embark on another journey soon and I'm going to make the most of it - because in order to save $1000 we're taking one of the longest routes possible!

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    1. What a disaster, Jeneane, but what a nice way to remember the disaster. I'm sure your lovely family will do fine on your long-routed next journey, too!

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    2. Oh that does sound awful Jeneane! I'm so glad to hear you can look back and smile about it now.
      Good luck on the next journey!

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  4. Amanda, I was going to mention: great photo selection of the cruise ship in Singapore. We lived across the road from there for one of our two years in Singapore. Literally across the road. Can you image how many times my Dad came to visit us!!!

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    1. You mean I must have walked by your old place? That is cool! And yes I can imagine that would have been heaven for your Dad!!! How funny that I picked that exact picture!!

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    2. Yes! We lived there in 2000 when there was nothing else down that way - nowadays there is a huge shopping mall and numerous apartment buildings but in those days ours was the only one :)

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