When you are young you want to travel. It is part of one’s self-education. You are brave – indestructible. And having travelled, sometimes dangerously, you are able, in later life, to hold your own in the company of those who have also travelled.
When you have been to a lot of places on the globe and become older, travel becomes more taxing. There are currencies and languages to contend with, beds and pillows that are quite different from those that you are used to, and with creatures and insects that annoy.
Many, of all ages, go away from the UK for sunshine, for the feeling of wellbeing – on land, sea and sand. This is understandable travel.
We once went away for foreign food. Now those foods are available in markets or on the internet. All can be enjoyed in restaurants or prepared at home – and generally cheaper.
For years I have had lists of things to buy in other countries (mainly France or Holland) that have been unavailable at home. Now most of the items on my shopping lists are obtainable near to home, or are traceable.
And even before taking into account the cost of hotels and food abroad, there is the ever-increasing price of car, ship, air travel and insurance to consider.
We have taken holidays-at-home. These have been periods of time when we have been self-indulgent with our relaxing time, wine choice, sightseeing and interesting restaurants. We have enjoyed these breaks immensely. And our entertainment has been convenient to our home.
So why do we leave for a few days in Dieppe once or twice a year? We go for “change”. Moreover, we return with wine, the savings on which virtually pay for our holiday. Short journeys abroad can still be viable.
But now, with almost all our pleasures abroad obtainable here, and the shops and internet able to provide the things that we used to go abroad to buy, I’m beginning to wonder if it is not the better bet to take all our holidays-at-home instead. We then have our own bed to sleep in, exotic food ingredients available in shops and markets, restaurants of every description around the corner, and a wonderful choice of theatres and galleries at hand.
So is foreign travel nowadays really worth it? Or is it just that I’m getting old? I suspect the latter.