- Is it the arrival of spring, sap rising and that malarkey?
- Is it because many friends are having career breaks and travelling?
- Is it because I'm 45 in 3 weeks?
- or is it because I'm sorting out some photographs?
Apologies up front, this posting isn't about wildlife, Wessex or anything other than me rambling on...... today's theme is why do we want to travel?
Back to the eejit. I'd met an Italian lady (married before you begin throwing nasturtiums) through work on the Internet. We conversed via e-mail and she asked me to come and see her and her husband; so following a crash 1-2-1 course in Italiano ( ahhahh Claudia, where are you now??) in June 2000 off I went to Lake Garda, met with and got on splendidly with said friend and her family, and have visited them again. I also met another woman on the trip who hailed from Dorset, and the rest is history. People often said, how did you and Thelma meet, and I say by a Lake in Italy while visiting another woman, which often throws them.
As it turned out like many journeys, it was fabulous, I absolutely fell in love with Italy, especially the Dolomites. I remember standing somewhere by a cable car station and all I could see were snow covered mountains all the way to Austria. It was like being on top of the World, literally.
So what makes us travel. Is it an adventure? Is it for rest and relaxation? Is it to visit new places? Meet new people? Well actually probably it's all of these things, but I wonder what it is that actually says in our brain. Today I'm going to leave the comfort, warmth and security of the family home and visit that place I've never been to before, arrive hot and flustered, not be able to speak the language, and have a wonderful time.
For me it's the actual travelling I love, which is one of the reasons I've never flown (until later this month, off to Jersey). Finally getting there is good, but actually the process of getting there is better. I'm a huge fan of long distance driving, despite this being seen as environmentally unsound, the open road and no deadlines is a real boon to me.
In 1999 I was asked by friends who were holidaying in Gairloch, in November, if I'd like to visit. I live 20 miles south of Bristol and only had a long weekend available. I drove there and back in 3 days, just shy of 1400 miles and it was the best one night in a cottage stay I've ever had. Great journey the length of the UK, great and sociable friends and just stunning scenery along the way. Totally mad, but absolutely fulfilling. I have a quote on my mobile phone, "what is a destination without a journey" I can't remember where I found this now, but for me it makes sense.
These feelings of wanting to travel must be strong in all of us. Maybe it's basic instinct of the Hunter Gatherer in all of us which lies dormant for a while, then when the sun is high, the wind from the sea, we don our backpack and can not resist an adventure out into the unknown. I also know for me, although I'm very sociable, I'm basically a private person who loves to be alone. Travelling to a crowded beach won't appeal to me, but standing on a mountain, the only person for 1000 miles does.
February has been a strange month as I'm getting itchy feet, which is unlike me, either that or the old medical condition has returned. I could have been in Tenerife this last fortnight, for reasons best left unanswered I wasn't. A lot of friends are taking time off from work now and travelling the World (mind you most seem to be in New Zealand - must be the most crowded Island in the World).
I've also been chatting to my second cousin, half removed, twice round the block in Canada (Hi Judy, I know you read this) about visiting my errant family there, and hopefully in August her daughter and a friend will be visiting the old country (Andrew has been told to be a Father figure to them....!) and this week I've been researching Norway.
In particular as my ancestors are Norwegian I'd like to visit Skein near Oslo but while I've been doing some research, the Atlantic Road north of Bergen intrigued me. (image above from visit-norway website) I can feel a road trip coming on.... apparently if one travels it in an Atlantic storm in the Autumn, it is quite exhilarating as the car is swept off the road. Where do I sign?....... and of course north of there lies the Arctic Circle. Watching Joanna Lumley visit the Northern Lights on TV last year was just glorious.
2010 is going to be, 3 months off work and answer the call of the Vikings, well one of my ancestors was called Thor.