Posted by: J M | July 22, 2010

T is for travel

Getting on buses. Striding onto tubes. Dragging my carcass on trains. It’s all I seem to do. Most of my travelling is heartbreakingly functional: 2 or 3 methods of transport per day, depending on which client’s office I’m working at, with only an unfamiliar desk and a stained mug awaiting me. It was this ‘métro-boulot-dodo’ dull existence that spurred me on to start going places more often. I wanted to go away. Away.

Luckily, a seed was planted when some close friends of mine moved to Barcelona recently. After giving up their London flat and fulfilling a long-held ambition to travel to South America, they have decided to spent around a year realising ambition number two: to live in Barcelona. After that, it’s back to London to breed and read the Sunday papers and make casserole, but until that fateful day when they get to hear someone chirp ‘Mummy!’ or ‘Daddy!’ at them incessantly, they’re living the dream.

So a friend and I booked a trip to Barcelona. Much of what you can say about Barcelona has been said before, so I won’t really wax too lyrical about its architecture (breathtaking), its climate (hot), its beach (sandy), the people (mainly smoking-hot gorgeous), the shopping (like here, but more of it and with a disturbing amount of beige) or even the service (serial killers are met with a warmer welcome in the UK). All I can say is that the very act of travelling only added to the experience.

I have always loved airports and see absolutely nothing wrong with wearing aviator sunglasses at all times in the terminal building. My one-time horrendous fear of flying — which stopped me going almost anywhere for 10 years — has all but evaporated like Anthea Turner’s career and I now have a primal urge to go to other places and pretend to be someone else for a while.

Being somewhere else and experiencing not only the cultural bits that everybody dutifully does, like museums, dead people’s houses and religious buildings, but also just acting as if you live there for a few hours is one of my favourite parts about travelling.

They say it’s better to travel than to arrive, but that’s nonsense. It’s better to travel and then to assimilate, clearly. So, where next shall I be extending my carbon footprint? Well, Aberdeen, as it happens but that, thankfully, is quite another story.

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