Travel? No, unless…


Tress and I got back to Melbourne last night, a little before 9pm. We’d been to Malaysia for her dad’s 80th, which went really well.

We had started the trek back to Melbourne at 5.30am (in Malaysia) earlier yesterday. The cab was at the driveway of Tress’ parents’ home a little before 5.30am. We had woken up at 4.45am. So door-to-door, it took 15½ hours. Return trip was therefore 31 hours.

I have been ruing about overseas travels for a while now. I am starting to detest it, and I think unless I have to, my choice would be to avoid it as much as possible. Last night as I stood at the carousel at Melbourne Airport, and watch those metal plates circulating to catch and hold pieces of luggage, I wondered again, why so many love to travel overseas “for pleasure” now.

The whole process of immigration, customs, boarding checks, removing everything on you that could trigger that alarm on the sentry that causes you to spread your arms for a pat-down body search by bored border/airline personnel, all only to be allowed into a capsule with 200-300 others, confined, restrained and subject to awful announcements by the crew, and fed awful food. You are allowed to escape all that only by looking at a small screen with  bad audio, watching cut-down versions of what the airline thinks its fee paying passengers should watch. And that is when babies stop crying or their parents stop bellowing at toddlers to sit down. I can do without any of these, over a span of 31 hours, which don’t come near a comprehensive list of reasons to avoid overseas travels.

I guess the travel this past week was a “have to” type of travel, in the sense that it is the sort of travel I would be willing to make, and grin and bear the “nail scratching on blackboard” pain in the arse process hitherto described. I’d bear it because the time with family was absolutely worth it. Do it however, to view a mountain or a river, a bridge, a wall, an excavation site full of earthen figurines, or worse, visit a theme park or shopping mall, would be to me, a madness I would not voluntarily subject myself to – and don’t get me started on travelling to taste any sort of dish. I’d sooner avoid driving more than I need to for a decent feed.

Travel to “tour” (anything)? Nah… Travel to see the joy on the face of a newly minted octogenarian? Absolutely.

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