In Support of Travel

December 15, 2015 11:22 am Published by

A friend of mine, recently purchased a vacation property in Florida. It is good to have such friends, willing to bare the burden of expense and provide an excuse for folks like me to pay them a visit. I havent visited his home in Guelph for years, but I jumped at the opportunity to fly south and spend a few days at his second home. It would be rude after all, to decline. Travel, has always been a love of mine, and my wife and I have made it a priority over the years. When other young families were making provisions for funding their childrens education, or, perhaps, furnishing their houses – we are vacationing minimalists. It is not the course your financial planner may approve, but it was fun, and we managed to convince ourselves that what we were providing, had more educational value than an RESP, or certainly a couch for the living room. (Further proof, that one can justify anything if they try hard enough.) Travel however, is not what it used to be. Recent world events will almost assuredly make seeing the world an even more cumbersome chore.

We arrived at Pearson International at approximately 6 am, or two and a half hours before our scheduled departure. The cattle herding that ensued, is something to which those of you who have flown recently can attest. Understandably, security is a concern. However, in the interest of expediency, I for one would welcome a little profiling when it comes to who exactly has to remove their shoes going through security screening. If that means I have to take mine off, because I look angry, and the 90 year old Betty White look alike in front of me gets a pass, it is a consequence I can accept. Surely, there must be a better way. The 133 mass shootings in America since 2000 ( the Germans come in second with 6) have resulted in virtually no changes to gun laws. Yet one kook sticks some explosives in his shoes, and millions upon millions of us – including a ton of Betty Whites – have to remove their shoes to fly from Buffalo to Albuquerque. The consequence and the reaction do not seem equitable. Yes, yes, I know it is better to have a little inconvenience than to have a plane crash. But surely, somehow there must be a way to combine technology with common sense to reduce the time it takes to clear security at the average airport. In all, even though we arrived 2.5 hours ahead of our flight, we arrived at our gate as the flight was boarding. The eventual casualty I fear, will be travel. If it gets much more difficult to do, more and more of us will opt for the couch and RESP. And that, in my opinion, will be a shame.

Mark Twain shared an interesting observation on the usefulness of travel, when he opined: “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” I would love to claim Twain was my inspiration, but alas it would be a lie. Rather, I like to travel because it is fun! However if some of Twains altruistic consequence would happen to rub off, it would be a happy consequence indeed.

Of course, quotes are much like statistics. Just as I can find a quote from someone I happen to agree with, there are those who take an opposing position. In fairness, I should give that position equal measure, and let the reader decide if travel is a virtue or vice. ” Im not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents get em a passport and give em a backpack and say go off and travel the world. Noooo. I worked my whole life.” – Sarah Palin. Not only that, but she could keep an eye on Putin from her backyard.


Thanks for reading,

Jeff Neumann