A Long Way

Hua Hin beach on a cloudy morning

Hua Hin beach on a cloudy morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt: “Tell us about the farthest you’ve ever traveled from home.”

Far from home. When I think of far from home then physical distance isn;t the first thing that comes to mind. If you want distance then we are talking about London (500 miles further from home than Boston).

London for the first time was a strange mix of the known and the unknown. So much of it was learnt from books and movies over so many years. A London cab, a tube station, a mailbox, a telephone booth and the Beefeaters at the Tower of London were all so familiar that I may as well have been home. At the same time the shops along a street and a hundred other details were different. The two conflicting aspects made for a couple of strange days as I adjusted.

The strange thing is that London feels closer to home than some other places I’ve visited.

Walking through the natural calm of the Daintree rainforest north of Port Douglas seems a million miles from the urban noise of Sydney. Outside the forest is a blistering hot day but inside the light is filtered through the canopy and it’s cooler and tinted green.

Sitting in a cheap restaurant with Laminex tables in Hua Hin, Thailand. They gave me a menu that was obviously “westernised” so I ordered by pointing to dishes being eaten by the locals on the tables near me and ended up eating a mouth watering meal as the owner’s wife giggled when one of the curries burnt through my resolve and had me gulping water.

Camping by the side of the road in Outback NSW with my father. Outside the circle of the gas lamp it is so dark that you can hardly see your hand in front of your face while overhead the night is so clear that the sparkling dust of the Milky Way is thrown across the sky. The camping spot is dusty and red, the same red that is caked onto the car.

Then there’s the time when even the house I live in is not home. The times when the major depression has stripped me of any ability to find pleasure, peace or calm and it seems I will never stop sobbing.

Those places all seem a long, long way from home. Distance is just not a simple measurement of miles or kilometres but how far away you are from your every day, your known, your safe.

Baedeker And Beyond

English: View of NYC from Empire state building

View of NYC from Empire state building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today’s Daily Prompt asks “What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?” It’s noticeable that they title the post ‘Tourist Trap’.

Who exactly is a tourist and what is a “tourist destination”?

The idea of a tourist really derives from the “Grand Tour” — a tour around Europe undertaken by the wealthy of Europe (principally England) to expose a young gentleman to the cultural legacy of antiquity and the Renaissance. At first, in the 1600s, they were accompanied by an educated and informed guide but later as travel got cheaper and the middle class arose books to inform and assist arose – the forerunner of the guide books we use today. Forster’s book ‘A Room With A View’ is a novel that deals with English men and women at the end of the era of the Grand Tour at the beginning of the Twentieth Century.

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