Friday 14 September 2012

I Am a Nut Fugger

I was thinking today about how travel has changed over the years. My son and his wife just spent a couple of weeks in Italy and arrived home today. They probably spent the better part of the day in travelling to the airport, checking in, going through security, waiting to board, hours and hours of flight, debarking at Calgary, going to Customs and getting a ride home where the driver asks and expects answers about how your trip was. Really, all that you are interested in is getting home and sleeping in your own bed for the first time in weeks.

I don’t know how Brendan and Tara deal with the travel part, but to me it is a fucking nightmare! I love to be places, but the getting there just isn’t worth it to me. Thank God Louise makes me go through all of that rig-a-ma-role and behave like a real adult.

I can’t help but wonder what it must have been like to travel in the past. Airplanes allow us to cover vast distances in a relatively short time frame. Before the last century the modes of travel were considerably slower and could be measured in weeks and months instead of hours. If you happened to miss a connection, it might be weeks before the next ship would be heading to your destination. I still don’t think I would have liked to travel and Louise would have had to make a pretty damned good argument to get me to go anywhere.

I come from a long line of sea faring folk. My family made their living plying the trade routes all over the world. They would begin and end in Liverpool, but the trips would be measured in years. I have read some descriptions of life on the sea and I can tell my great-great-great grandfather that there is no way I would follow in the family tradition. I am not sure how many people made a conscious decision to make the sea their life. In fact, I suspect that the decisions of a good portion of people who took to the sea were unconscious ones. Most likely, unconsciousness was brought on by a stout club to the side of the head when they were leaving the pub late at night.

When we picture travel in times of yore, it is always romantic and we are the captains or wealthy travellers that have to put up with only the one maid and one man servant. The reality is that if we were lucky we would have to work like dogs to pay our way and have to put up with crappy food and even worse living conditions. I think that travel was a way of life and not a vacation back then and it was something that you were driven to do. Very few would ever go anywhere and would more than likely live and die within a few miles of where they were born.

Louise and I moved across the country and that was a pretty traumatic undertaking for us. Communication was available, but somewhat costly and we really felt out of touch with all that we knew and had come to love. In time we made new connections and our life took root in Calgary. I suppose that was how things worked back in time. You would have no other choice but to make a go of it in your new locale. We as human beings can get used to pretty much anything and live anywhere. Just look at the nut fuggers that choose to live in the extremes of the arctic or in a desert. I am pretty sure my mom and dad thought that about me and my move out to Calgary. After all, we picked Calgary for no better reason than it was close to the mountains and there was a pretty good chance we could get jobs out here. Probably!

Come to think of it, I guess that I am a nut fugger.

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