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The insignificance one’s travel conquests

In the august company of a meritorious family in the UK I was overwhelmed by the ‘grandness’ of the holiday that they recently returned from. The hostess while ensuring an incessant supply of caviar and champagne regaled the guests throughout the evening with her travels on the finest cruises and the number of countries the family visited this year.

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.

4 thoughts on “The insignificance one’s travel conquests”

  1. By writing this piece you have touched upon a very sensitive issue, and a mindset that is ubiquitous, and not limited to any geographical boundary.
    I think it is the price that we are paying by thinking globalisation, reaching out across seven seas, amassing great monetary wealth,and in turn forgetting the true human nature, forgetting the very basics…

    It has become a fad to talk about annual (sometimes even monthly) escapades to exotic locations, and not feeling ashamed realising that we havent reached across the street to meet our friends / neighbours in years.

    I totally concur with your views brother, and let me put it this way me being a sailor and having visited every corner of the world – I always enjoyed visiting those places where the people were lively, had warmth in their hearts. Many of the third world nations were such, no fancy stores but great people, on the other hand big places, but every one trapped in the grind..
    Holidays are more about connecting with hearts than talkin aloud about abstract inanimate materialistic cities

  2. Your observations are interesting, and coming from a person as well travelled as you it is quite thought- provoking too.
    I must add that they sound like the observations of a lonely traveller. What if you are with the people you love and surrounded by those who matter the most to you? I would think it is worth going to a new destination if there is someone you can enjoy the time with, and share your experiences too.
    Yes, meeting new people and being showered by their love would be even better; but going to new destination is not entirely meaningless. Especially if it is to places you enjoy.
    From my perspective – Going to Madras to meet someone special would be great, but it would not be the same as going to switzerland with somenone you love. Not a chance. So in that sense destinations do matter.Theres a lot to write home about – provided there is someone to share the experience with.

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