This week Bill Storie published a retirement happiness article in which he shared some thoughts on travel and, it got me thinking about some of the trips I have been on and just how difficult it can be to enjoy the experience.
Living on an island, I have travelled a lot. Bermuda is barely 21 square miles in total so you really can’t “get away for the weekend” without getting on an airplane. For this reason, trips might be a bit less frequent than people in North America or the UK would enjoy, but they tend to be a bit more exotic.
There is something about the need to produce a passport to embark on a journey that just about guarantees that you are in for some sort of adventure. (These days just making it through the airport security screening is an accomplishment).
And then there is the plane ride …
Why is it that the chance of being seated next to someone who needs to whine about the lack of food service increases the greater the length of the trip? Why when there is only one five year old boy on the flight are you invariably seated directly in front of him, to enjoy seven hours of squirming and kicking your seat back? Why are the chances of your luggage being delayed coming off the carousel at your destination directly proportional to the urgency of your trip?
These things (as you might be able to tell) really used to bother me. And then I realized a bad transfer, just made me appreciate the destination more when I finally arrived.
Sunsets are somehow more beautiful when viewed from the top of the Ferris wheel at the end of the Santa Monica pier. The foie gras is decidedly more buttery when enjoyed in the Jules Verne restaurant at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The ice wine is definitely sweeter when sipped at an ice bar at the Icewine festival in Niagara-On-The –Lake. The fireworks are more spectacular on New Year’s Eve in Kuala Lumpur. The Giants football game is more exhilarating in the freezing rain at the Meadowlands stadium.
But why is this the case?
Because I was there to experience these things in person; and you cannot underestimate the importance of being there. The greatest gifts that you can give yourself when you make a journey are the memories that you bring home with you.
So what are you going to choose to remember; the annoying taxi driver and the traffic, or the wonder of feeding toast to the ducks in Hyde Park in the pouring rain?
The choice is up to you, but I’ll take the ducks and the Ferris wheel any day!