I simply love being in transit

 

Share
Related Topics

It isn't the destination, it's the journey that counts. Homilies such as this exist, at least as far as I understand it, to neutralise the crushing sense of soul implosion when something you've been looking forward to for aeons either fails to occur, or is just a bit crap when it finally does.

But sometimes journeys really are the best bits. I don't say that as someone who has experienced more than their fair share of disappointing holidays, but as the sort of limited person who has never really grown up and stopped being excited by things that most other responsible adults find tiresome. Who sees the actual travelling bit of, well, travelling as one of the major components of holiday enjoyment. Who is able to spring out of bed no matter what time it is, even to relish the decanting of one's grooming regime into a sandwich bag, all for the promise of going from this boring A to an infinitely more interesting B.

Getting on a plane? Terrific. The most exciting thing ever. A long-winded train ride? Wondrous: a chance to bed down and pretend you're experiencing the Golden Age of the Railway (narrow seats and screaming children notwithstanding). In the car? Even better – I can't drive, so whoever's in charge is basically my chauffeur. I simply love being in transit: it's thrilling.

In my family, the back seat was a hallowed place come the summer holiday, where my sisters and I set up shop, dispensing gossip, jokes, advice and pick and mix, while our parents fiddled with the fader switch at the front so they didn't have to listen to Now 36 in its entirety again and again. (Actually, I'm exaggerating: they bloody loved Now 36, perhaps even more than my sisters and I did.) We sat there for days on end as our left-wing Volvo trundled through France, stopping off at places of interest and places of absolutely no interest alike.

For me, the journey was, and is, one of the most important parts of a holiday. It's something I still look forward to, a period of decompression between real life and the unbridled slobbing to come.

A few weeks ago, I took the train to Scotland, a rolling Pendolino that flies through Milton Keynes (thank goodness) before undulating up through Wigan, the Lake District and Carlisle. From my seat, I watched satellite towns merge into the Black Country, where the sun came up (we boarded in Euston at 5.30 in the morning) before pikes and crags took over. It felt like being in a foreign country (pedants and Northerners please refrain from stating the obvious). It's also the only time I've ever felt that Great Britain is any bigger than say, Denmark. (Disclaimer: I only found out that Britain is, in fact, bigger than Denmark quite recently.) We even travelled first class on the way home (it was part of a deal) and the complimentary "snack packs" made us feel like royalty.

I wouldn't say I felt an affinity with the men who stand in the cold with their jotters and anoraks, and drool over trains from the outside, but I'm definitely a bit of a geek when it comes to appreciating them from the inside.I get excited by the efficiency of the tiny plug sockets, and the feeling of being packed off in a space capsule when you lower the armrest.

When you're travelling, time stands still – or rather, it strides as you cross timezones. But that means that time becomes irrelevant somehow: that you're no longer tired despite leaving your house in the dead of night; that you can have three different breakfasts two hours apart; that otherwise-urgent claims recede; that you can just sit and be catapulted to wherever it is you're trying to get to. I like to think there's something fairly existential about all this, a fact which has no doubt struck you too, as you queue for the loo and rearrange the top button on your jeans as soon as the seatbelts sign has flashed off.

One important addendum to all this rhapsodising, before you get too excited about the journeys you'll undertake this year: travelling for travelling's sake is only truly pleasurable when you're still pumped with adrenalin and optimistic expectation for your destination. Coming home, journeys are quite, quite different. Coming home, you hate and despise everyone around you, as if it's their fault you've been kicked out of paradise. Coming home, difficulties are multiplied and made enormous, your comfort denied; hassles are like ever-increasing hydras.

And it isn't the fact of coming home that makes it so dreadful; it's the fact that, at this point, travelling is like being in limbo. Your holiday mindset is running on empty, your workaday drudge mentality hasn't quite kicked back in yet. The best thing to do in this scenario? To take advantage of the hostess trolley and let your thoughts fly free on a bouncy cloud of gin.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Recruitment Genius: General Factory Operatives

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership

Philip Pullman
 

Errors & Omissions: Magna Carta, sexing bishops and ministerial aides

John Rentoul
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links