The sceptic that I am at times – I subtly asked whom were they visiting? She said no one.
Just as I return from a fantastic break after visiting Arvid, a very very dear friend in Norway, I muse – are holidays about destinations or people?
Are holidays about the money spent on them – to regale the lesser mortals at parties where guests are obliged to hear the travel conquests of their filthy rich hosts or are they about the people whom one visits.
I wouldn’t say that I have seen every nook and corner of the world but have travelled sufficiently far and wide to reflect with a degree of confidence that every destination in the world is just marginally different from the other. Globalisation has ensured that all high streets are just the same. Same brands, same shops, almost the same prices. Architecture and collection of museums and places to visit varies only to the extent as it varies if one is travelling from London to Liverpool via Cotswolds.
Same buildings, the same sort of places of interest and every city would have some sort of an insignificantly similar attraction.
I strongly believe that it’s only the people who matter in this equation.
Oslo (my recent holiday city) was just another destination. But what moved me was the hospitality that was extended to me. The opportunity to be a part of my host’s family, to be invited to his home where his respected parents re-scheduled their programs just so that I could be part of the family Christmas dinner, a special afternoon in his farm house, the time he spared amidst his new job to take me sightseeing and above all the evening in his beautiful new home, with a log fire, where he invited two of his best childhood friends too – made me feel on top of the world.
Destinations play a small role – the genuine friendships, relationships and the company that you are in, is all that matters.